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King of the Belgians
King of the Belgians

The 2016 Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has revealed 13 new titles screening as part of its ‘Cinema of the World’ program, this December.

The first new addition in the powerful lineup is ‘King of the Belgians’ by Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens – an absurd mockumentary following a Belgian king who gets hopelessly stuck in Turkey whilst the southern half of Belgium declares independence. Since a wild storm has cut off phone lines and air travel, the king is left with only one option: to make an odyssey through the treacherous Balkans to save his kingdom.

Terrence Malick, one of the most highly acclaimed filmmakers in American cinema, joins the line-up with ‘Voyage of Time’. Centred on the history of our planet, the film takes audiences on an up-close voyage through nature and time, narrated by renowned actress Cate Blanchett and produced by Brad Pitt. It is an awe-inspiring celebration of life whilst exploring what may be awaiting humankind in the hazy future.

Turkish director Zeki Demirkubuz, who won the Muhr AsiaAfrica award with Inside in 2012, will draw DIFF’s audiences into a gripping atmosphere with his feature fiction ‘Ember’. The film follows a twisted love triangle centered around Emine who, after being left by her vanishing husband, vulnerably rekindles a relationship with Ziya, an old friend. An affair unfolds as Ziya and Emine’s relationship deepens, until her husband unpredictably returns to their lives.

The Distinguished Citizen’ is a light dramatic comedy directed by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat which reflects the life of writer Daniel Mantovani, whose inspiration is sourced from his Argentinian hometown. After years spent away from his birthplace, the Nobel prize-winning writer Mantovani accepts an invitation to return, however soon learns he may live to regret the decision. Audiences at DIFF will be thrilled and delighted as they encounter the unexpected with this comic and personal tale of homeland.

Portuguese director Marco Martins teams up once again with Nuno Lopes, star of his first film ‘Alice’, for the hard-hitting drama ‘Saint George’. As a country in financial ruin, shocking numbers of people in Portugal are living in poverty including boxer Jorge. Faced with unemployment, Jorge desperately wants to keep his wife and young child from leaving the country. In a desperate attempt to save his family, he accepts a distressing job that drags him into a world of violence and crime.

The next film in the lineup is a trip down memory lane with Indian filmmakers Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya. ‘The Cinema Travellers’ will pull at the heartstrings during DIFF as the beautiful non-fiction film travels through the incredible but disappearing tradition of tent cinemas, which have brought the magic of film to small, remote villages in India for several decades. The film witnesses the awe of cinematic journeys while the band of supporters fight to keep the neglected art of film projection alive.

Acclaimed British director Ken Loach casts a critical eye on the British social system with his powerful drama ‘I, Daniel Blake’ which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes earlier this year. A middle aged carpenter and a young single mother of two form a friendship when they both find themselves battling to survive whilst being shoved around by the state welfare system.

Straight from the glory days of Hollywood is ‘La La Land’ by Academy Award nominee Damien Chazelle, starring A-listers Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. This modern Hollywood romance honouring the American musical past explores the joys and pains of pursuing dreams in the limelight through the eyes of two aspiring performers. Featuring powerful song and dance performances, audiences will be swept away as the two battle between ambition and love.

British director William Oldroyd adds to the lineup with a commanding drama, ‘Lady Macbeth’. Set in Victorian England, it is the tale of love and betrayal involving a young woman who is trapped in a loveless marriage. Dark twists unwind as a passionate affair takes place, leading to chaos and murder on a serene country estate.

Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun touching non-fiction feature ‘Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy’ sensitively delves into the stirring truth of the bloody Hissein Habré regime. Following the arrest of Chadian dictator Hissein Habré in 2013, the film intimately explores the disturbing stories of traumatized victims who lived through the extreme dictatorship and who still bear the scars of the horror in their flesh and in their souls.

The powerful tale ‘Sami Blood’ by Swedish director Amanda Kernell, starring Lene Cecilia Sparrok, will take audiences on an intimate journey following the bewildering world of a teenage Sámi girl, who is exposed to the racism of the 1930s. Vulnerable and alone in a boarding school at the tender age of 14 after being forcibly removed from her family, her desire to start a new life means she must break away from her true self and forget her past and deny her heritage.

Russian director Aleksey Mizgirev portrays an intense historical tale in ‘The Duelist’. Set in 19th Century Russia, menacing duelist Yakovlev, played by Pyotr Fyodorov, gains a new lease of life when an unexpected romance alters his priorities. This is not to last, however, as an enemy from his mysterious past threatens to ruin his future. Yakovlev has no choice but to reveal himself and confront his enemy, despite mortal danger, in order to save his love and avenge himself.

South Korean auteur Kim Ki-Duk brings a thought-provoking drama to the screens of DIFF with ‘The Net’ starring the charismatic Ryoo Seung-Bum. A poor North Korean fisherman gets caught up in a risky situation when his net, which has been is lifeline for years, entangles in the engine of his boat. The strong tide uncontrollably forces him into dangerous South Korean waters, where he is met by suspicious military officers. The simple life that he once had is now a distant memory.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s Director, commented: “DIFF’s audiences are taken around the globe with our beloved Cinema of the World program. Boasting a variety of the latest and greatest creations from some of the industry’s most renowned directors, actors, producers and screen writers, the 13th edition will not disappoint. Audiences will be excited, educated and thrilled this December.”

Cinema of The World Director Nashen Moodley added: “The Cinema of The World category boasts such a broad range of work from different cultures, and allows us the opportunity to give audiences a film experience they may not otherwise have access to. Seeing people enjoy something new and different through the magic of cinema is one of the most rewarding things about DIFF.”

the 13th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will take place from the December 7th – December 14th, 2016.

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