CINEMA OF THE WORLD’ BRINGS THIS YEAR’S AWARD SEASONFRONT RUNNERS TO DIFF
The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced the first round of titles in its Cinema of the World section, which boasts original cinematic voices that have been generating buzz around the world through the year, including Oscar-nominated director Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, BAFTA-nominated director Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, Oscar-nominated director Jean-Marc Vallee’s Wild starring Reese Witherspoon and Andrea Di Stefano’s Escobar: Paradise Lost.
Academy Award nominated director Bennett Miller best known for his features Moneyball (2011) andCapote (2005) returns to the screen with Foxcatcher, a mesmerising true crime and sports drama, which recounts the tragic story of wrestling champions Mark and Dave Schultz, played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. The film depicts the brothers’ fateful encounter with multi-millionaire coach John du Pont (played by comedian Steve Carell in a terrifying dramatic role). The film garnered Miller the Best Director award in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. The film also stars Keira Knightley and picked up the ‘The People’s Choice’ Award at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
In Wild, director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club), Academy Award®winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line) and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby (An Education) bring bestselling author Cheryl Strayed’s extraordinary adventure to the screen. After years of reckless behavior, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Strayed makes a rash decision. Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi (Academy Award®-nominee Laura Dern) and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own.
The directorial debut of Italian actor Andrea Di Stefano, Escobar: Paradise Lost is a melodrama about notorious Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar played by Benicio del Toro. Told from the perspective of Nick (Josh Hutcherson, The Hunger Games), an innocent surfer from Canada, Escobar: Paradise Lost unfolds during the final years of Escobar’s brutal reign.
Xavier Dolan’s fifth feature Mommy, won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and has been selected as Canada’s entry for the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language category. The film follows afeisty, widowed, single mom as she finds herself burdened with the full-time custody of her rambunctious 15-year-old ADHD son.
Actor Paul Bettany makes his writer-director debut with Shelter; a drama which follows Hannah (Jennifer Connelly) and Tahir (Anthony Mackie) who come from two different worlds. But when their lives intersect, they’re at the same place: homeless on the streets of New York. A love letter to the great New York dramas of the 1970s, Shelter is an unsparing story of loss, love, sacrifice, redemption and, ultimately, hope.
Selected as the Argentine entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards comes the crowd pleasing feature Wild Tales, a unique black comedy drama written and directed by Damián Szifrón. The film features a collection of six bitterly funny revenge stories about ordinary people over-reacting and taking retribution on relatable things such as bureaucrats, their family and disrespectful drivers!
Crime and punishment form the basis for Black Souls, a Godfather-like drama by Italian director Francesco Munzi that reveals the lethal ties of honour that survive among Calabria’s mafia clans. At its centre are the Carbone brothers, the eldest of whom has turned his back on the drug operation that provided the family’s stature and wealth. With plenty of twists, Black Souls is a beautifully crafted, dark film about a man’s desperation to run away from his past.
Following the record-breaking success of film The Intouchables, the directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano once again collaborate with actor Omar Sy in the comedy drama, Samba. After migrating to France from Sengal, Samba (Sy) has been working at several lowly jobs. Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is an immigration officer, who is experiencing a burnout. As they both struggle to break free from their dull lives, a strange twist of fate brings them together.
Indian writer-director Chaitanya Tamhane’s debut feature film Court won the Lion of the Future award and the Orizzonti Award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival. The story begins with the discovery of a sewerage worker’s body inside a manhole in Mumbai. An ageing folk singer is arrested and accused of performing an inflammatory song, which may have incited the worker to commit suicide. The trial unfolds in a lower court, where the hopes and dreams of the city’s ordinary people play out.
Maternal love inspires in Pakistani filmmaker Afia Nathaniel’s Dukhtar, billed as a ‘road trip thriller’ andPakistan’s official entry in the category for Best Foreign Language Film. In a remote village in the mountains of Pakistan, a young mother’s worst fear comes true: her 10-year-old daughter has been promised in marriage to an old tribal leader in order to settle a blood feud. Desperate, the mother feels she has no option but to take her daughter and run.
British writer-director Guy Myhill’s impressive debut feature The Goob, is a coming of age story that follows Goob Taylor who spends his summers helping his mum run the transport cafe and harvest the surrounding pumpkin fields. When she shacks up with swarthy stock-car driving supremo and ladies’ man Gene Womack, Goob becomes an unwelcome side thought.
Inspired by real events, These Are The Rules is a compelling film from Croatian writer-director Ognjen Svilicic’s about a tragedy that consumes an ordinary family. After their son has been beaten up in the street, bus driver Ivo and his wife Maja find their world of false security collapse around them and they are forced to re-examine their lives and question all their beliefs.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF Artistic Director, said: “DIFF’s Cinema of the World selection offers a wide variety from the world’s most anticipated films of the year, many of which are considered potential contenders for the 2015 Academy Award nominations. Our rich and diverse slate of foreign language films present unique viewing opportunities for the multitude of nationalities residing in the UAE. In summary, the 11th edition offers everything from sneak previews of big-budget Hollywood films to no-budget films that are breaking new ground, films from first-time filmmakers through to the some of the most established directors working today. ”
Nashen Moodley, DIFF’s Director of the Cinema of the World programme, added: “In programming the Cinema of the World line-up, we offer our discerning DIFF audience a cross-section of world cinema today, and while we’re still working on the final selection, we are very excited with the films we have already selected. I think DIFF’s audience is in for a wonderful experience this December.”
The Dubai International Film Festival will be held from December 10 to 17, 2014. In its eleventh year, the festival is the premiere platform for the most distinguished Arab and international films.