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Your guide to Abu Dhabi’s Middle East International Film Festival. Check out our pick of the cinematic highlights.

The Brothers Bloom
(Dir. Rian Johnson)
Following Johnson’s previous effort, the excellent teenage film noir Brick, The Brothers Bloom strays into more whimsical Wes Anderson territory as it follows two conmen, brothers Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrien Brody), who decide to retire with one last job – robbing a beautiful, eccentric, heiress.
(Gala night screening, Fri Oct 10, 6.30pm, Emirates Palace)

Miracle At St. Anna
(Dir. Spike Lee)
Spike Lee chronicles the story of four black American soldiers who are part of the all-black 92nd Buffalo Soldier Division stationed in Tuscany, Italy during World War II.
(Sat Oct 11, 5.45pm, Marina Mall)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
(Dir. Woody Allen)
Woody Allen’s er… fascination with Scarlett Johansson continues with this comic, romantic drama about two friends who both fall for Javier Bardem’s amorous artist while on holiday. Word is that Penelope Cruz’s performance as Bardem’s beautiful but insane ex-wife is the one to watch, but that this is also a return to form for Allen.
(Mon Oct 13, 9pm, Marina Mall)

The Lucky Ones
(Dir. Neil Burger)
Following a head injury, a hardened sergeant (Tim Robbins) is granted one month’s leave from Iraq to visit his fiancée. Forced to travel with two other stranded servicemen, his short trip evolves into something deeper in this politically minded drama.
(Thu Oct 16, 6pm, Marina Mall)

Easy Virtue
(Dir. Stephan Elliott)
A cheerful, big screen reprise for Noel Coward’s 1920s play. Basically it’s like a Jazz Age Meet The Fockers with Jessica Biel playing a race-car driver who impulsively marries a young Englishman in Monte Carlo. Together they travel to England to meet his privileged and batty family who, naturally, hate her.
(Mon Oct 13, 9.30pm, Emirates Palace)

(Dir. Anthony Leondis)
A welcome inclusion for this year’s Fest is animation, and Anthony Leondis’ dark cartoon looks to be an enjoyably twisted tale. Adopting a very Tim Burtonesque look, it tells a tale of mad professors, evil inventions and thwarted ambition.
(Sat Oct 11, 3pm, Emirates Palace)

I Bring What I Love
(Dir. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)
Documentary following Youssou N’dour after the release of his controversial Egypt album, which attempted to counter negative perceptions of the Muslim faith, but caused huge religious controversy in his native Senegal.
(Fri Oct 17, 9.30pm, Emirates Palace)

Also Showing

Documentary – Man On A Wire
(Dir. James Marsh)
Fascinating look at the daring, illegal high-wire walk between New York City’s World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in 1974.
(Fri Oct 17, 5.45pm, Marina Mall)

Documentary – 7 Blind Female Fim-makers
(Dir. Parto, Davarnezhad, Elahi, Ahmadi, Haqiqat, Afiyat, Haqiqat)
Seven blind Iranian women were taught the basics of film-making and how to portray their surroundings in a workshop. The result is this incredible series of short documentary films.
(Sun Oct 12, 2.45pm, Emirates Palace)

Feature – Laila’s Birthday
(Dir. Rashid Masharawi)
Lightly comic tale of a judge forced to become a taxi driver in Palestine who struggles to make it home for his daughter’s birthday.
(Sat Oct 11, 5.45pm, Marina Mall)

Environment – The Oryx
(Dir. Bader Ben Hirsi)
Follows the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi as it releases endangered oryx from a captive breeding programme.
(Thu Oct 16, 1.15pm, Emirates Palace)

Festival of Festivals – Adoration
(Dir. Atom Egoyan)
Egoyan’s latest is about an insular adolescent who reinvents his life on the Internet
(Sun Oct 12, 3pm, Marina Mall)

Festival of Festivals – Maradonna
(Dir. Emir Kusturica)
Warts-and-all documentary about every aspect of the great, but troubled Argentinean footballer’s life.
(Thu Oct 16, 3pm, Marina Mall)

Arab Women’s Directors – The Kite
(Dir. Randa Chahal Sabbag)
Charting the love story between a Lebanese girl and an Israeli soldier, The Kite is a fairy tale for troubled times.
(Sat Oct 11, 4pm, Marina Mall)

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