Dubai, 21 November 2017: The Dubai International Film Festival announces the latest additions to its ‘Cinema of the World' programme, welcoming films from across the globe to join in what will be an unforgettable celebration of cinematic artistry at the Festival's 14th edition.
The next addition in the vibrant line-up is the critically praised ‘The Death of Stalin', from acclaimed Scottish-Italian filmmaker Armando Iannucci. Having opened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to rave reviews, ‘The Death of Stalin' embraces the dark humour expected from Iannucci's films as it follows a Soviet era satire about one of the world's most ruthless dictators. A stellar cast of Michael Palin, Simon Russell Beale, Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs, Rupert Friend, Olga Kurylenko and Jeffrey Tambor, bring the historic figures to life as the ensemble explores the last days of Stalin's regime and the chaos that follows his death.
Making her return to DIFF is Scottish director and BAFTA award winner Lynne Ramsay with ‘You Were Never Really Here'. After a striking premiere at Cannes Film Festival, featuring a seven-minute standing ovation and wins for Best Actor and Best Screenplay, her latest feature has been heralded as the ‘‘‘Taxi Driver' of the 21st century”. The thriller follows Joe, played by acclaimed actor Joaquin Phoenix, tracking a missing teenage girl. A brutal and tormented enforcer, Joe is solely focused on his rescue mission. This dark path into corrupt power and vengeance unleashes a storm of violence that may lead to a startling awakening.
From acclaimed Mexican director Guillermo del Toro comes his latest feature ‘The Shape of Water', which received the prestigious Golden Lion Award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival. The film is an other-worldly fairy tale set against the backdrop of the Cold War in the United States. In a hidden, high-security laboratory where she works, Elisa is trapped in a life of isolation. But, her life is changed forever when she one day discovers a secret classified experiment. The fantastical thriller features the star-studded talents of Academy Award nominees Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon and Richard Jenkins, and Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer.
Critically acclaimed feature, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri', from Academy Award-winning British director Martin McDonagh, joins the Cinema of the World lineup. After taking home Best Screenplay Award at the Venice Film Festival and the People's Choice Award at TIFF, the film has now been nominated for a stunning 11 British Independent Film nominations. It's been seven months since Mildred Hayes' daughter, Angela, was murdered, but local authorities still have not identified a culprit. Fed up with the delays, Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby, the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command, Officer Dixon, an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle is only exacerbated. ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' features an all-star cast with Academy Award winner Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell.
Obsession grips a forensics doctor convinced he may have caused a child's death in ‘No Date, No Signature'. The second feature by Iranian actor and director Vahid Jalilvand, ‘No Date, No Signature' premiered to critical acclaim at the Venice Film Festival. Forensic pathologist Dr Nariman is a principled and virtuous man. After an accident with a motorcyclist and his family, leaving the man's eight-year-old boy injured, Dr Nariman pays compensation to the family and offers to take the child to a clinic nearby. The next morning, he finds out that the same little boy has been brought in for an autopsy. The doctor on call says food poisoning was the cause, but Dr Nariman is left to wonder if he shares more of the blame.
Award-winning short film director Rouzie Hassanova explores the power of music in her first feature film, ‘Radiogram'. Bulgaria, 1971. Held under the Communist regime, any religious expression or music from the West is viewed, and punished, as a national threat. A father decides to walk almost 100km to the nearest town, so he can buy a new radio for his rock ‘n roll obsessed son. Set in the director's native Bulgaria and based on an inspiring true story, ‘Radiogram' is a feel-good drama about identity, expression and freedom.
Making a splash on the film stage is first-time writer and director Kang Yun-Sung with ‘The Outlaws'. Already dominating the box office with its Korean debut and taking home the Korean Film Association Critic Award for Best New Director, the film follows an ambitious plan by a ragtag team of detectives to mop up the mob for good. Chinese gangster Jang Chen is a new breed of criminal in Seoul. After singlehandedly taking over the mob and emerging as the most feared mobster in the city, he and his gang quickly earn a reputation of being merciless in their pursuit for money. However, Chen has made one mistake; his reign of chaos has fallen into the district of ruthless detective Ma Seok-do and his detective squad, who will do whatever it takes to maintain peace in their city.
The epic historical drama ‘The Message' from Syrian-American director Moustapha Akkad, joins the lineup on the occasion of its 40th anniversary with the English 4K edition. The film follows the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) starting with Islam's beginnings in Mecca in which the Muslims are persecuted, the exodus to Medina, and ending with the Muslims' triumphant return to Mecca. A number of crucial events, such as the Battle of Badr and Battle of Uhud are depicted, and the majority of the story is told from the point-of-view of peripheral individuals such as Hamza ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib (Muhammad's uncle), Abu Sufyan (the leader of Mecca) and his wife Hind bint Utbah (enemies of Islam who later become Muslims themselves).
Acclaimed Greek director Alexandros Avranas returns to the DIFF screen with the neo-noir tragedy, ‘Love Me Not'. After turning heads with his previous features ‘Without' (2008) and ‘Miss Violence' (2013), ‘Love Me Not' tells the story of a couple that hires a young migrant to be their surrogate mother and moves her to their beautiful villa. While the man is away for work, the woman and the girl start to bond and enjoy the couple's wealthy way of life. Behind the cheerful exterior, the wife seems to slip into depression until one day, after a confrontation with the girl, she goes for a drive. The next morning, her husband gets a call: his wife is dead, her burned body was found in her wrecked automobile.
Japanese animation filmmakers Nobuyuki Takeuchi and Akiyuki Shinbo make their DIFF debut with ‘Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?'. Known for his animation work on ‘Spirited Away' (2001), ‘Bakemonogatari' (2009), and ‘Penguindrum' (2011), Takeuchi takes to the director's chair with an animated romantic drama set on a single summer's day. A group of young men are planning to watch fireworks from the town's lighthouse, and wonder amongst themselves if fireworks are round or flat when seen from the side. Somewhere else, the class idol, Nazuna, asks the boy who likes her, Norimichi, to elope with her. What fate awaits these two in a day that keeps repeating itself?
The Jumanji adventure returns to the big screen in the star-studded, action-packed, fun-fuelled fantasy, ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle'. Directed by award-winning American television and film director Jake Kasdan, and starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Alex Wolff, and Madison Iseman, Jumanji's latest adventure depicts four high-school kids who are thrust into the wilderness having discovered an old video game console. Becoming the game avatars they chose, the four discover that you don't just play Jumanji, you survive it, as they embark on the most dangerous adventure of their lives. With their fate in their own hands they must beat the game and attempt to escape unscathed. Fail that and they'll be stuck in Jumanji … forever.
Hailing from Western France, filmmaker Laurent Cantet is no stranger to success with 33 award wins to his name, and a further 26 nominations for his works – including his latest masterpiece, ‘The Workshop'. The film is an intense drama that follows seven young people in the small town of La Ciotat, near Marseille, as they participate in a writing workshop under the tutelage of well-known novelist Olivia Dejazet. Tasked with writing a noir fiction connected with the industrial past of their hometown, the feature takes a dark, sinister turn when one of the seven young writers clashes violently with the group, and describes a mass murder from the eyes of the perpetrator.
From Norwegian-Pakistani actress, writer and director, Iram Haq, comes ‘What Will People Say', the tale of sixteen-year-old Nisha, a perfect Pakistani daughter living a double life. After her father catches her in bed with her boyfriend, the film's protagonist, Nisha, is taken from her home and her friends in Norway and thrown head-first into a new life in Pakistan. Sent to live with her relatives, Nisha must now learn to adapt in her new life, in a new country, and in a culture she has never before experienced.
Joining the Scottish contingent in this year's Cinema of the World line-up is director, Paul McGuigan, with his British-American feature ‘Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool'. This biographical, dramatic-romance lets sparks fly with the unlikely bond that forms between a young actor, played by Jamie Bell, and a Hollywood leading lady, portrayed by Annette Bening. Based on the memoir of the same name by Peter Turner, ‘Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool' takes audiences on a romantic-rollercoaster ride through Los Angeles, New York, London and Liverpool, in a modern day Romeo and Juliet love affair that depicts the unabating love between the most unlikely pair, and illustrates that love has no bounds.
DIFF's Artistic Director, Masoud Amralla Al Ali, stated: “The Cinema of the World programme is one of our greatest triumphs at DIFF. It allows us to celebrate the wonders of film from around the world, with some of the year's greatest cinematic masterpieces gracing the big screen at the festival. Every year the programme opens our eyes to a spectrum of cultures, traditions and through the medium of film we are given an insight into the lives of people and characters never before seen.”
Further to this, Director of the programme, Nashen Moodley, said: “Year upon year we here at DIFF strive to showcase an eclectic mix of only the best and brightest films of the year. The Cinema of the World programme will open your eyes to a world of possibilities.”
Make sure you don't miss a single moment at DIFF, with ticket packages for the 14th edition and tickets for the Forum now on sale. Tickets can be purchased from the DIFF box office, which will open online on Friday, November 24th www.dubaifilmfest.com and at the box office at VOX Cinemas Mall of the Emirates. Tickets will also be available from the Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah from Tuesday, December 5th and from the Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah on Wednesday, 6th December.