Best screenings of Dubai International Film Festival 2015
Time Out Dubai has a guide to the best movies showing at Dubai International Film Festival 2015 (DIFF 2015). Find out about showing times, tickets and more
Time Out Dubai staff
Room Director: Lenny Abrahamson Opening this year’s festival is a film that already has Oscar-nominee written all over it. Adapted from Emma Donoghue’s novel, Room tells the story of five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay), who has lived in confinement with his mother (Brie Larson) all of his life, and explores their escape. Tremblay will attend the gala screening. Gala screening: Wed December 9, 8pm. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah; public screening: Thu December 10, 10pm. Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
Dheepan Director: Jacques Audiard Winner of the Palme d’Or this year, Dheepan, the first Tamil language film to win the award, explores the struggles of the immigrant experience in France, with flashes of violence. The cast are mostly first-time feature film actors. Public screening: Thu December 10, 6.15pm; Fri December 11, 6pm. Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
Taklub “Trap” Director: Brillante Mendoza This touching docu-drama-style film tells the tragic personal stories of the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013. Public screening: Thu December 10, 6.30pm; Sat December 12, 9.45pm. Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
Sherpa Director: Jennifer Peedom High-altitude filmmaker Peedom climbs Mount Everest to follow the lives of the Sherpas who guide tourists on their ascent to the summit. Shot in 2014, when 16 Sherpas died at Khumbu Icefall, the film looks at the aftermath and implications of the incident. Public screening: Thu December 10, 6.45pm, Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
Bilal Director: Khurram H. Alavi and Ayman Jamal Produced by Dubai studio Barajoun Entertainment, this is the first full feature animation movie fully developed and produced in the emirate to be released worldwide. Set a thousand years ago, a boy whose dream is to become a great warrior is abducted with his sister. Thrown into a world where injustice rules, Bilal finds the courage to make a change. Gala screening: Thu December 10, 9.30pm. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
Concussion Director: Peter Landesman Will Smith stars in this drama based on the true story of Doctor Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist from Nigeria who made the first discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a brain trauma related to professional American footballers. The film charts Omalu’s fight for personal and professional acceptance in the US as he takes on the might of the NFL. Gala screening: Fri December 11, 6pm. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
Let Them Come Director: Salem Brahimi Part of the Muhr Feature category at the festival, this drama is adapted from Arezki Mellal’s novel. Rooted in Algeria’s conflict with fundamentalists, the film tackles the toll political turmoil can take on a single household. Public screening: Fri December 11, 6.45pm. Madinat Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah. Mon December 14, 10.30pm public screening. Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
Youth Director: Paolo Sorrentino Starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda, this film tackles the issue of ageing. Caine plays Fred Ballinger, a retired composer on holiday with his film director friend Mick (Keitel). The pair ruminate on life and while Ballinger refuses to work again, a special invitation makes him reconsider. Public screening: Fri December 11, 6.30pm; Tue December 15, 3.30pm, Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
Brooklyn Director: John Crowley Saoirse Ronan stars as an Irish immigrant in Brooklyn, New York in the ’50s. But despite being thousands of miles from home, her past catches up with her. The screenplay is written by Oscar-nominated writer Nick Hornby. Public screening: Fri December 11, 9.15pm. Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
The Endless River Director: Oliver Hermanus A dark moody drama that centres on grief and loss. Tiny (Crystal-Donna Roberts) and Gilles (Nicolas Duvauchelle), live in a small town in South Africa. Though their backgrounds are diametrically opposed, they are bonded by an act of violence, which also threatens to tear them apart. Public screening: Sat December 12, 2pm. Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
The Childhood of a Leader Director: Brady Corbet Starring Robert Pattinson, Liam Cunningham and Stacy Martin, this chilling drama documents the rise of fascism in the 20th century, and focuses on the life of a young American boy living in France in 1918, whose father is working on the creation of the Treaty of Versailles. What the boy witnesses leads to the creation of a terrifying ego. Public screening: Sat December 12, 2.15pm. Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
The Man Who Knew Infinity
Director: Matt Brown Dev Patel stars as Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar, a poor Indian mathematician who gains a place at Cambridge University during The First World War. This true story follows how Iyengar struggles to overcome racism and self-doubt to fulfil his potential and prove his theories, with his unemotional mentor gradually recognising the abilities of this humble man. Gala screening: Sat December 12, 6pm. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
Director: Sarah Gavron Following the story of the women’s rights activists in the early 1900s, this drama starring Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie Duff, Helena Bonham and Meryl Streep, depicts how much the Suffragettes risked socially and personally in their fight to secure the votes for women. Sun December 13, 6pm, public screening, Madinat Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah; Wed December 16, 2.45pm public screening. Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
The Lady in the Van Director: Nicholas Hytner Written by British novelist Allan Bennett, this is a charming biopic about an eccentric old lady who parks her van in Bennett’s driveway and the pair form an unusual and unexpected bond. Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, James Corden and Alex Jennings star. Public screening: Sun December 13, 7pm. The Beach, JBR; Tue December 15, 7pm. Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
The Family Fang Director: Jason Bateman Bateman (Horrible Bosses), also stars in this drama. Adapted from Kevin Wilson’s 2011 comic novel, director Jason Bateman stars opposite Nicole Kidman as a brother and sister who return to their family home when their famous parents mysteriously go missing, and in looking for their parents they also examine their upbringing and life choices. Public screening: Sun December 13, 10pm. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
Spotlight Director: Tom McCarthy Based on a true story, this hard-hitting drama starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams tells the story of a massive scandal uncovered by The Boston Globe. Mon December 14, 10pm, public screening. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
Mustang Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s debut film proved to be a success at its Cannes Directors’ Fortnight premiere. Mustang is set in northern Turkey, where Lale (Günes Sensoy) and her four sisters are walking home from school, playing innocently with some boys. Their actions turn towards taboo and the girls are imprisoned by their parents, but their spirit of freedom remains undiminished. Public screening: Mon December 14, 4pm. Vox Cinemas, Mall of The Emirates.
Truth Director: James Vanderbilt A classic drama with a solid cast and set around investigative journalism, Truth is a biographical newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush’s military service and the questions over his alleged dodging of the Vietnam draft. Public screening: Tue December 15, 10pm. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
The Big Short Director: Adam McKay Closing out the film festival is this highly acclaimed satire with an all-star cast including Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling. McKay’s (Anchorman, Step Brothers) film tracks four outsiders in the world of high-finance, who predicted the credit crunch and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s, bet against the banks – and won. Gala screening: Wed December 16, 8pm. Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
Festival tickets cost from Dhs275 (ten-ticket bundle). Dhs500 (Red Carpet Gala package excluding opening gala and awards ceremony). Free admission to The Beach screenings. December 9-16, times vary, see website for full schedule. www.dubaifilmfest.com.