Gulf Film Festival picks of the week

What to see at the festival at Grand Festival Cinema

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Thursday 14

In Focus: Gérard Courant Throughout the festival, Dubai Festival Centre will be showcasing films from this experimental French filmmaker’s extensive repertoire on screens across the mall. Courant holds the world record for the longest film ever made, the 156-hour Cinématon, which features short, silent self-portraits of more than 2,347 artists, directors and cinephiles. Visitors to the film festival will also have the chance to take part in this ambitious movie project.
Continues until April 20. Various locations, Dubai Festival Centre.

Friday 15

Richard III: An Arab VIP (15+) The camera follows a touring Arab production of Shakespeare’s eponymous play as it moves from rehearsals in the oil-rich Arabian Gulf state of Kuwait to the charged atmosphere of a US premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and on to the United Arab Emirates for a performance at a desert fort. Directed by Tim Langford and Shakir Abal. Starring Amal Omran and Fayez Qazaq.
6.15pm, Grand Cinemas 8 (repeated noon, April 17).

The Caller (N/A) Troubled divorcee Mary Kee is tormented by a series of sinister phone calls from a mysterious woman. When the stranger reveals she’s calling from the past, Mary tries to break off contact. But the caller doesn’t like being ignored, and looks for revenge in a unique and terrifying way. Directed by Matthew Parkhill. Starring Stephen Moyer, Rachelle Lefevre and Luis Guzman.
9pm, Grand Cinemas 5 (repeated 6.30pm, April 17).

Saturday 16

Roads of Kiarostami (N/A) Featuring a stunning vignette of photographs by world-renowned, award-winning director Abbas Kiarostami. The film explores an endless channel of communication that helps to connect individuals from one location to another. The screening will be followed by a public question-and-answer session with Kiarostami.
6.45pm, Grand Cinemas 9.

Child of Iraq (12+) A poignant coming-of-age story about grief, friendship and a burning wish to find a lost identity in a country once called home. At 21 years old, Ala’A Mohsen feels Danish to the bone, but his name and the colour of his skin prove otherwise. Armed with a video camera as his diary, he travels through the country and slowly begins to embrace his Iraqi culture – until tragedy strikes.
3pm, Grand Cinemas 7 (repeated 6.30pm, April 18, Grand Cinemas 8).

Sunday 17

Clockwise (15+) Inspired by an early 20th century legend, Clockwise is set in a fishing village in northern Qatar. The sole survivors of a shipwreck are Atique Bin Barood and a baby in a box; Atique saves the baby, Saad, and raises him as his own. When Saad grows up, he discovers his father’s secret relationship with a djinn. Directed by Khalifa Al Muraikhi. Starring Ali Hassan, Maysa Maghribi, Abdulla Hamed and Ali Mirza.
9pm, Grand Cinemas 5 (repeated 3.15 pm, April 19, Grand Cinemas 8).

The Order of Things (15+) A drama from Spain, directed by the award-winning Esteban Alenda brothers. Julia’s life takes place in the bath tub; drop by drop, she gathers the courage to change the order of things. Starring Manuella Velles, Mariano Venancio and Javier Gutierrez.
9.45pm, Grand Cinemas 9 (repeated 9.45pm, April 19).

Monday 18

Hawi (12+) At 40 years old, Youssef is released after five years of solitary imprisonment in Egypt. In Alexandria, he meets Ibrahim and Fady, with whom he shared the same prison 20 years ago. The three are united with the film’s other characters in their desire to strive for a better life, despite the terrible circumstances around them. The question is whether they will succeed. Starring Hannan Youssef and Sherief El Desouky.
6.45 pm, Grand Cinemas 9 (also showing 9pm, April 16, Grand Cinemas 5)

Sun Dress (15+) Halimah is a beautiful deaf and mute young woman who yearns to marry the man she loves. Her love is thwarted on multiple occasions by prejudice and fear that her condition will be passed on to children. A compelling film, set in the UAE, by Emirati director Saeed Salmeen Al Murry. Starring Habib Gholoum, Maree AlHalyan, Nevin Madhi and Ahmad Abdullah.
9pm, Grand Cinemas 5 (repeated 3pm, April 20, Grand Cinemas 7).

Tuesday 19

Wind (PG) In this allegorical film by Emirati director Waleed Al Shehhi, a small child steps on a rusty nail, which infects his blood like a pollutant in the ocean. Starring Mohamed Matar, Eissa Kayed, Sofia Jawad and Ibrahim Al Mansoori.
6.15 pm, Grand Cinemas 7 (repeated noon, April 20, Grand Cinemas 8).

Qarantina (N/A) The story of a professional killer in Baghdad, who lives in an abandoned building with a displaced family; he watches emotionless as they struggle. He starts his week with a contracted assassination of a professor, but his clients get increasingly frustrated with him while he continues to murder independently. Starring Asaad Abdul Majeed, Alaa Najem and Hattam Auda.
6.45pm, Grand Cinemas 4 (also showing 9.30pm, April 17).

Wednesday 20

Baghdad Film School (PG) In 2003, only a few months after the liberation of Baghdad, two Iraqi-born filmmakers opened the first independent film school in Iraq. Baghdad Film School depicts the daily lives of a group of a young Iraqi film students who try to live up to their dreams of becoming documentary filmmakers in a country mired in chaos.
3.30 pm, Grand Cinemas 9 (also showing 6.15pm, April 18, Grand Cinemas 10).

Heaven’s Water (12+) A peddler visits a yellow fish at a pet shop every day. One day, he meets a young pregnant woman and a friendship slowly develops. As she faces an important decision over the future of her unborn child, the peddler decides to help her. Starring Khaled Ameen and Haya Abdulsalam.
3.15 pm, Grand Cinemas 8 (also showing 6.15pm, April 18, Grand Cinemas 7).
For more information and full listings, see www.gulffilmfest.com

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