What to watch on day two of the Dubai International Film Festival
Time Out Dubai staff
The King’s Speech: The diffident Duke of York (Colin Firth) is the younger son of King George V, a shy man afflicted with a dreadful stammer that makes public speaking a nightmare. His wife Elizabeth finds an unlikely solution in colourful Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an eccentric Australian actor/speech therapist whose method of dealing with the King’s speech impediment employs a variety of decidedly unorthodox treatments. (15+) English. Runtime: 118 minutes. Madinat Arena, 20.00. Public screening: JBR, 20.00. Editor's pick, Gala screening, World premiere
678: In this bold and frank film, the directorial debut of respected Egyptian scriptwriter Mohamed Diab, we witness a number of perspectives on sexual harrassment through the eyes of three women drawn from across Cairo’s complex social hierarchy. Frustrated by the lackadaisical response from their local authorities, the trio decide to take the law into their own hands and begin exacting violent revenge on men foolish enough to try to harass them. (15+) Arabic. English subtitles. Runtime: 100 minutes. Madinat Arena, 21.00. Editor's pick, Gala screening, World premiere
A Small Town Called Descent: In a small town in the middle of nowhere, a nation’s humanity hangs in the balance. Amid a political and racial storm, three elite investigators are deployed to Descent to get to the bottom of the atrocity. Following xenophobic riots in South Africa, two Zimbabwean brothers and a local girl are attacked and one of the brothers is murdered. (18+) English, Xhosa. English subtitles. Runtime: 106 minutes. MOE5, 21.30. Adrift: People of a Lesser God: In this gripping story, a group of African migrants, among them a five-month-old baby, sail out of west Africa on a quest to reach the golden shores of Europe. All aboard are packed together like sardines in a leaky fishing canoe as they travel under a full moon on their harrowing journey. Journalist and filmmaker Dominique Mollard captures the struggle of these desperate migrants as they risk their lives in search of a better future. (PG) English, Arabic, French. English subtitles. Runtime: 103 minutes. MOE9, 22.00. An Unfinished Letter: Mrinalini, a troubled, ageing actress, is writing her suicide note. As a performer, the first lesson she learned was timing – the perfect moment for making an entrance or an exit on stage. However, before taking a final lethal dose of pills, she decides to destroy all her memorabilia, lest it falls into the hands of the press. (15+) Bengali.English subtitles. Runtime: 130 minutes. MOE12, 21.45. Autumn: Rafiq and his family are struggling to come to terms with the loss of his older brother, Tauqir, a tourist photographer who disappeared after the militant insurgency in Kashmir. When Rafiq discovers his late brother’s cherished camera, complete with a roll of film, his life finds a new sense of purpose. (15+) Urdu. English subtitles. Runtime: 103 minutes. MOE1, 22.00. Baghdad Film School: In 2003, only a few months after the liberation of Baghdad, Iraqi-born filmmakers Maysoon Pachachi and Kasimof open the first independent film school in Iraq. They load their car with video equipment and undertake a dangerous journey from Amman to Baghdad. (PG) English, Arabic, Dutch. English subtitles. Runtime: 59 minutes. MOE9, 19.00. World premiere
Chicogrande: A tale set during Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa’s failed 1916 invasion of Columbus, New Mexico. Villa (Damián Alcázar) has been routed at Columbus and, injured, flees into the mountains, hotly pursued by a cavalry of North American soldiers and a vicious officer determined to capture him, dead or alive. (18+) Spanish. English subtitles. Runtime: 95 minutes. MOE1, 19.00. Conversation with Colin Firth: The star of The King’s Speech talks about his latest role and takes questions from attendees. English. Runtime: 60 minutes. First Group Theatre. 16.00. Conversation with Sean Penn: Hollywood actor Sean Penn talks about his work and takes questions from attendees. English. Runtime: 90 minutes. First Group Theatre. 19.00. If I Want to Whistle I Whistle: Silviu is a hot-tempered but charming 18-year-old convict, three weeks away from release. When he discovers that his feckless mother is taking his younger brother to Italy, he realises that his fantasies of freedom are going to be harder to realise than expected. (15+) Romanian. English subtitles. Runtime: 94 minutes. MOE11, 21.45. Imams Go to School: A group of apprentice imams at Paris’s Great Mosque undergo secular training in order to comply with new social regulations. They train at the Catholic Institute of Paris. (15+) Arabic, French. English subtitles. Runtime 75 minutes. MOE7, 18.30.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child The film features a super-rare and fascinating interview with artist Basquiat, filmed in 1986, contributions from key figures from New York’s art world and images of his work. A tragic story that crackles with the energy of Basquiat’s unique, crudely beautiful art. (PG) English. Runtime: 90 minutes. MOE11, 19.30.
Koundi and the National Thursday: Koundi is a large village with about 1,200 inhabitants, situated 22km away from Bertoua, the regional capital of Cameroon’s East Province. Aware of Koundi’s richness in timber, the villagers decide to use it to alleviate poverty. (15+) French, Maka.English subtitles. Runtime: 86 minutes. MOE8, 19.30. Leaving Baghdad: A globe-crossing road movie following the lonely struggle of an Iraqi refugee, Sadiq. Leaving behind the hell of Saddam Hussain’s Iraq, he finds himself in more torment as he traverses country to country, passed from one smuggler to the next. (15+) English, Arabic, Hungarian. English subtitles. Runtime: 85 minutes. MOE12, 19.00. World premiere Leila Baka Fiha El Qamar: A wild, torrid romance. Singer Hanan is privately, desperately lonely, so when she meets a handsome young man, theatrical director Ahmad, when her car breaks down, she is open to his evident keenness to work with her. (PG) Arabic. English subtitles. Runtime: 124 minutes. MOE7, 21.00. Passion: Byamba Sakhya’s Passion is a fascinating look at Mongolian film history. He follows Binder Jigjid, son of the legendary Mongolian director Jigjid Dejid, as he takes his films from village to village trying to eke out an existence. The question of whether filmmaking is primarily a business or an art form looms large in this film. (PG) Mongolian. English subtitles. Runtime: 83 minutes. MOE5, 18.45. Presumed Guilty: What is it like to be picked up off the street, told you have committed a murder you know nothing about, and find yourself behind bars for 20 years? In 2005 this happened to Jose ‘Tono’ Zuniga in Mexico City and, like thousands of other innocent young men, he was condemned for a crime he had never committed. (12+) Spanish. English subtitles. Runtime: 87 minutes. MOE10, 21.30. September Rain: This film opens in ’40s Damascus, where a young man is listening to a musical broadcast. Flipping to the present day, the young man is now a father with a fruit-selling business, bringing up his large, musical family alone, following the death of his beloved wife. (12+) Arabic. English subtitles. Runtime: 87 minutes. MOE2, 18.30. The Company Men: A timely, powerful and heartwarming portrayal of life in – and out of – today’s merciless corporate world, where share prices rule. Starring Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones. (12+) English. Runtime: 102 minutes. First Group Theatre, 21.15. Editor's pick
The Qandil Mountains: Iranian director Taha Karimi sets his first dramatic feature against the violent and conflicted yet stunning backdrop of the Qandil mountains, where Iran, Turkey and Iraq meet. (PG) Arabic, Kurdish. English subtitles. Runtime: 90 minutes. MOE6, 21.45. When We Leave: Set in the large Turkish community of Berlin, we follow the story of Umay, a young woman who has finally fled an abusive husband in Turkey to find sanctuary with her family in Germany. Her family is scandalised that she has left her marriage and beg her to reconsider, fearful of the negative stigma she will bring upon all of them. (15+) German, Turkish. English subtitles. Runtime: 119 minutes. MOE6, 18.30. When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors: This documentary charts four years that saw US band The Doors achieve international fame and acclaim, and record some of the most thrilling rock music ever to make the charts. (18+) English. Runtime: 86 minutes. JBR, 20.00. Winter’s Bone: Set in rural Missouri, our unlikely heroine, Ree Dolly, is a stoic 19-year-old who has practically raised herself and her siblings single-handedly amid poverty and grind. Ree’s semi-catatonic mother is beyond useless, while her feckless, drug-dealing father is on the run. (15+) English. Runtime: 100 minutes. MOE10, 18.30. Editor's pick Yongsan: On January 20 2009, five tenants of the Yongsan district in South Korea, who were forcefully evicted from their homes, staged a sit-in and were burned to death in their apartment block. This personal essay documentary by Mun Jyeon Hyun recalls the many movements of Korean civil rights and activism and asks where all the idealism went. (15+) Korean. English subtitles. Runtime: 74 minutes. MOE8, 22.15.