Eleven feature and documentary films from China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand have been selected for 7TH DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2010â€™s Muhr AsiaAfrica features and documentary competitions. An international jury will select the winners during the Festival, and present 12 prestigious Muhr Awards and more than US$ 225,000 in prize money on December 19, 2010.
Additional films from East Asia are also included in the Festivalâ€™s out-of-competition segments and its shorts competition. All films are open to the public.
7TH DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: MUHR ASIAAFRICA FEATURE LINE-UPS
UN HOMME QUI CRIE (2010)
Also Known As : A Screaming Man (2010)
Country : France, Chad, Belgium
Director : Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Stars : Youssouf Djaoro, Diouc Koma, Emil Abossolo M’bo
Genre : Drama
Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s quietly powerful tale of a father and son’s soured relationship in war-torn Chad is a simple, yet heartbreaking parable. Former swimming champion Adam is in his early 60s, and is the pool attendant at a luxury hotel resort. But when new management takes over, Adam is demoted in favour of his son Abdel. Adam silently seethes with jealousy and humiliation, his inner turmoil exacerbated by rising tensions caused by the country’s ongoing civil war. When the authorities demand money or volunteers for the ‘war effort’, Adam makes a surprising move. Adam has to try and come to terms with his actions whilst all about him the deadly fighting escalates. Burning with a slow intensity, ‘A Screaming Man’ is a superb example of Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s unique narrative style.
LOONG BOONME RALEUK CHAAT (2010)
Also Known As : Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)
Country : United Kingdom, Thailand, Spain, Germany, France
Director : Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Stars : Sakda Kaewbuadee, Jenjira Pongpas, Thanapat Saisaymar
Genre : Comedy, Fantasy
‘The final part of Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s multi-platform art project ‘Primitive’ – which includes 2009′s short films ‘A Letter to Uncle Boonmee” and ‘Phantoms of Nabua’ – “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives’ won the coveted Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes film festival.’ With its unorthodox structure, esoteric themes and dreamily impressionistic atmosphere, the award serves as ultimate vindication of the depth of Weerasethakul’s vision and his mastery of a complex and delicate narrative. ‘The film is built up of set-pieces, loosely based on the memories of the dying Buddhist Boonmee’s life and those that came before.’ As he lies in bed, deep in the Thai countryside, his mind ranges over vast territories, his recollections weaving in magical or supernatural elements in compelling and gorgeous detail. But Boonmee’s memories are contextualized within the beauty of nature and conversely, the immediate history of war in the region. A gentle, meditative film of uncommon beauty and rich with allusion and invention, it manages to surprise and enchant in every aspect.
STATE OF VIOLENCE (2010)
Director : Khalo Matabane
Country : South Africa
Writers : LÃ©a Fehner, Catherine Paille
Stars : Presley Chweneyagae, Lindi Matshikiza, Fana Mokoena
Genre : Drama
A hard-hitting drama set in the violent underbelly of modern South Africa. A rising star of the black business elite, Bobedi returns home after an evening celebrating his promotion to CEO of a large mining company, to find an intruder in his house. There is a struggle – and Bobedi’s wife is murdered in front of him. It is immediately clear that there’s more to the tragedy than is first apparent. Why, for instance, does the assailant appear to know Bobedi? When, frustrated by the police investigation, he decides to take justice into his own hands, we learn about his own past, and discover a chilling secret at the heart of the affair. Taut, suspenseful and imbued with trenchant observations about contemporary society in post-Apartheid South Africa, ‘State Of Violence’ resonates with suspense, intrigue and powerful social comment.
Director : Ebrahim Saeedi
Country : Iraq
Stars : Tima Amiri, Shahab Fazili, Mahmoud Gli
Genre : Documentary
An exhilarating and politically powerful road movie, Mandoo tells the poignant tale of a family ripped apart by conflict. As a small Kurdish girl, Sheelan emigrated with her parents to Sweden, leaving behind her extended family and the turmoil of life in Saddam-era Iraq. It’s now 20 years later and Sheelan is a successful young doctor, thriving in Sweden. But she yearns to reconnect with her family roots. Encouraged by the downfall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, and searching for news of her uncle she resolves to return home and reconnect with her family. But shortly after she arrives in Iraq and finds her family, Sheelan’s uncle suffers a stroke. Faced with a family in turmoil and with emotions running high, Sheelan prepares to embark on a hazardous trip as the family set out to fulfil the old man’s dying wish to return to his childhood homeland of Iranian Kurdistan.
Also Known As : Salve (2010)
Country : Iran
Director : Alireza Davoodnejad
Stars : Reza Davoodnejad
Genre : Drama, Family
‘Salve’ depicts a generation that is closer to their grandparents than their own parents. And it is a story about the pain and misery of these grandmothers who are struggling to free their grandchildren from the evils of modern times. An aged grandmother finds herself in the unlikely role of guardian angel to her rebellious granddaughter, who runs away seeking drugs and is left like a tender chick at the mercy of hawks. A sense of moody poetry runs through this story that combines the grimness of the underworld with a palpable longing for family. Two parallel stories merge when a shady developer, who has his own strong-willed grandmother hovering not so gently over his life, has a fateful encounter with the runaway.
Also Known As : Autumn (2010)
Country : India
Director : Aamir Bashir
Stars : Mohammad Amir Naji, Shahnawaz Bhat, Shamim Basharat
Genre : Drama
Rafiq and his family are struggling to come to terms with the loss of his older brother Tauqir, a tourist photographer, who is one of the thousands of young men who have disappeared since the onset of the militant insurgency in Kashmir. After an unsuccessful attempt to cross the border into Pakistan to become a militant, Rafiq returns home, frustrated by his own failure to escape. But when he discovers his late brother’s cherished camera, complete with a roll of film, his life finds a new sense of purpose. The almost talismanic power of the cheap camera serves as a means to connecting to the past and offers Rafiq a new perspective on his troubled world. Actor Aamir Bashir’s feature debut, ‘Harud’ is filmed with the muted, earthy tones of autumn flooding the screen with soft natural energy and light. And this emphasises the contrasting tension, generated by warring men and the dismal futility of their collective rage. Anchored by a quietly devastating performance from Shahnawaz Bhat as Rafiq, ‘Harud’ is a brilliantly dynamic yet subtle work that marks Bashir as a director to watch.
TANG SHAN DA DI ZHENG (2010)
Also Known As : Aftershock (2010)
Country : China
Director : Feng Xiaogang
Stars : Daoming Chen, Chen Li, Yi Lu
Genre : Drama, History
‘Aftershock’ is the highest-grossing domestic film ever in China – with over $100m made since its July release – and it’s not hard to see why. Bookended by two natural calamities, huge earthquakes in Tangshan in 1976 and Sichuan in 2008, it’s the story of those who survived the catastrophe, forced to rebuild their shattered lives amidst the rubble and ruin of their cities. At the narrative heart is a mother (Fan Xu), who immediately after the ’76 quake and the loss of her husband, has to make a hideous decision when her two children are trapped under concrete. This heralds years of anguish and emotions, in a deeply involving and heartrending tale that zooms into the hearts of the protagonists and then out, surveying the state of China at the time, the rebuilding of the devastated city and of the hearts and lives which it contains. It’s skillfully-filmed, sensitively nuanced and shocking, gripping the viewer’s full attention from the outset and keeping it in thrall throughout. A magnificent, sweeping epic, which captures the evolving vistas of Chinese life over four tumultuous decades.
PYUNG-BEUM-HAN NAL-DEUL (2010)
Also Known As : Ordinary Days (2010)
Country : South Korea
Director : Inan
Stars : Yeri Kim, Ju-seung Lee
Genre : Documentary
With his dazzling debut feature, renowned short film and music video director Inan has created a moving and exhilarating film linking three stories, three characters and a number of acts of violence. ‘Ordinary Days’ is a triptych ‘Between, Among and Distance’. ‘Between’ tells the story of Han-cheol, a deeply depressed insurance salesman. ‘Among’ is the story of Hyo-ri, an accessory designer in her mid-twenties who has just been dumped by her boyfriend, and ‘Distance’ is a story of Su-hyuk who is mourning the death of his grandfather. These three lives come together in funny, sad and sometimes shocking ways.
Also Known As : Confessions (2010)
Country : Japan
Director : Tetsuya Nakashima
Stars : Takako Matsu, Masaki Okada, Yoshino Kimura
Genre : Drama
Kokuhaku’ (‘Confessions’) is a terrific example of visceral, surreal, and darkly comic Japanese cinema. Yuko Moriguchi (Takako Matsu) is a well-meaning teacher, in charge of a class at a junior-high school. Worn down, not only by the rowdy class’s unruly behavior, but by the mysterious, unsolved death of her three-year old daughter, one day she shocks her class by announcing she knows the identity of her daughter’s killers – two of her pupils. ‘This revelation unleashes a frenzied drama in which the classmates turn on each other, root out the killers and through a succession of increasingly outlandish scenarios, exact their own brand of punishment.’ Proceedings are narrated at junctures by Moriguchi’s detached, almost indifferent commentary, adding to the maelstrom of moral ambiguity. By turns horrific, gory, beautiful and even funny – Tetsuya Nakashima’s devastating film selected as the Japanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83 Academy Awards – is a radical piece of uncompromising cinema.
Also Known As : Forty (2009)
Country : Turkey, USA
Director : Emre Sahin
Stars : Kofi Siriboe, Ali Atay, Kwesi Boakye
Genre : Drama, Comedy, Musical
This brilliant, stylish and thrilling debut feature from Turkish director Emre Sahin explores modern-day Istanbul through the eyes of three distinct protagonists, a disillusioned taxi driver, a bewildered illegal immigrant and a Turkish woman. One surreal, stormy week in November, fate conspires to bring these disparate characters together. Through the bustling metropolis, their destinies intertwine. Filmed on location throughout the city, ’40′ blends a rough realism with an allegorical edge and announces the feature debut of one of Turkey’s most interesting young directors.
LA KHANEYE ZIRE AB (2010)
Also Known As : The House Under The Water (2010)
Country : Iran, Morocco, Netherlands, Germany, France
Director : Sepideh Farsi
Stars : Hamid Molavi
Genre : Family, Sport
“Thirty years ago, Mortaza and his best friend Taher were involved in a tragic accident, in which Taher’s younger brother drowned.” Fast-forward three decades and we meet Mortaza again, freshly-released from prison and looking to rebuild his life. But soon the past catches up with him when he is suspected of the death of another drowned child. The police officer investigating the case turns out to be none other than Taher. Taher initially believes Mortaza to be guilty but as the common, private bond between the two men comes to the fore, he becomes increasingly convinced of his old friend’s innocence – and sets out to prove it. But does the long shadow of the pair’s past obscure the truth or is Mortaza really guilty of murder?
JIMSEUNG UI KKUT (2010)
Also Known As : End Of Animal (2010)
Country : South Korea
Director : Sung-hee Jo
Stars : Hae-il Park
Genre : Documentary, War
A disaster film like no other, END OF ANIMAL will terrify, exhilarate and shock in equal measure. Heavily pregnant Sun-young is in a taxi returning to her hometown Taeryong. She is sharing the taxi with a mysterious man, who appears to know a lot about Sun-young. On a deserted back road, he makes the car stop and begins counting down to zero – a cataclysmic event occurs. Upon regaining consciousness, Sun-young tries to find help, but no-one is around. Instead, a walkie-talkie in the cab begins emitting cryptic instructions, telling her to stay with the car. As she meets a range of eccentric characters, the extent of her desperate situation become more and more apparent. This surrealist nightmare is a gripping and absorbing psychodrama from one of the most exciting new talents to have emerged from South Korea in recent times.
LOTFAN MOZAHEM NASHAVID (2010)
Also Known As : Please Do Not Disturb (2010)
Country : Iran
Director : Mohsen Abdolvahab
Stars : Baran Kosari, Hedayat Hashemi, Afshin Hashemi
Genre : Drama, Thriller
“In this striking debut we see three stories that take place in Tehran, Iran. In the first story, we see a young woman who has been beaten by her husband. The woman is about to complain to the authorities, but the husband is concerned about his job and the embarrassment. The next story is about a clergyman whose wallet and documents have been stolen. The clergyman enters into a complicated negotiation with the thief. The last story is the story of an elderly couple whose TV has broken. The couple are alone in the building and are afraid of opening the door to the young repairman. In each of these stories, the characters are faced with a moral dilemma and make sometimes surprising choices.”
NORUWEI NO MORI (2010)
Also Known As : Norwegian Wood (2010)
Country : Japan
Director : Anh Hung Tran
Stars : Rinko Kikuchi, Kenichi Matsuyama, Kiko Mizuhara
Genre : Drama, Romance
It’s been dubbed the Japanese ‘Catcher In The Rye’ and now, Haruki Murakami’s classic novel is a sumptuously-filmed feature from Tran Anh Hung. Perfectly capturing the nostalgic, languid sensuality of the story, Hung brings the book to life in an emotional and devastatingly beautiful piece of cinema. It’s 1969 and Toru Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) is a 19-year-old student in Tokyo, besotted by Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), a beautiful and introspective young woman. But their mutual passion is complicated by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Watanabe lives with the influence of death everywhere, while Naoko feels as if some integral part of her has been permanently lost. It is at that time Midori (Kiko Mizuhara), a girl who is everything that Naoko is not – outgoing, vivacious, supremely self-confident – marches into Watanabe’s life and he has to choose between his future and his past.
LE SECRET DE CHANDA (2010)
Also Known As : Life, Above All (2010)
Country : South Africa, Germany
Director : Oliver Schmitz
Stars : Khomotso Manyaka, Keaobaka Makanyane, Harriet Lenabe
Genre : Drama
Fear and panic is struck into the heart of Elandsdoorn, a small rural South African village, when a baby suddenly dies. Left bereaved, 12-year old Chanda tries to come to terms with the double tragedy in this elegiac and moving film by one of South Africa’s greatest directors, Oliver Schmitz. Determined and intelligent Chanda is left to cope with her two younger siblings, alone. Meanwhile, the neighbouring community soon become withdrawn and hostile. Rumours begin circulating as to the true cause of the deaths and an atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia descends over the previously peaceful and happy village. And as Chanda becomes increasingly ostracized and isolated, her determination to discover the truth drives her to the very limits of her endurance. A sobering and powerful story, featuring a stand-out performance from young lead Khomotso Manyaka as Chanda.
The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival 2010 will be held from December 12 to 19.