To celebrate its tenth edition, the Dubai International Film Festival is hosting a series of free, outdoor, 2,000-capacity screenings in Burj Park, in the shadows of Burj Khalifa. From children’s movies to international epics, and including a documentary about Dubai’s labour camps to a recent poll-winning Arabic classic, there really is something for everyone. Here’s a guide to what’s screening when, complete with trailers, previews and timings. Enjoy!
Saturday December 7: Champ Of The Camp
Champ of The Camp is the first ever feature-length documentary filmed in the UAE’s labour accommodation. Told (and sung!) entirely in the voices of the labourers, it follows a Bollywood singing and trivia competition that takes place each summer in Dubai. The film chronicles the stories of characters such as Dhattu, a middle-aged Indian sweeper who is saving up for his daughters' marriages, and Adnan, a Pakistani who excels in all things Bollywood and is proud of his work on the world’s tallest tower.
Screening at 8pm on Saturday December 7 at Burj Park. Tickets are free on arrival.
Sunday December 8: Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon
Hong Kong director Tsui Hark’s widely-anticipated prequel to his 2010 smash hit, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, follows detective Dee Renjie as he investigates reports of a sea monster that is terrorising the city. Hark’s action-packed film has all the ingredients for an epic adventure – from the kidnapping of a beautiful courtesan, who is being served up as a human sacrifice, to the quelling of a foreign insurgency – and boasts spectacular visual effects.
Screening at 8pm on Sunday December 8 at Burj Park. Tickets are free on arrival.
Monday December 9: Homeland
Farid, a 26-year-old law student, has lived in France his entire life. When his father falls ill and sends him to Algeria to save the family home from demolition, Farid discovers a country he neither understands nor cares for. After a night of partying, his passport mysteriously disappears and as he struggles with a suspicious and unhelpful Algerian bureaucracy, the young Frenchman begins to learn about his family's past and his roots. Once he receives a phone call that his father's condition has deteriorated, Farid must return to France as soon as possible, with or without the paperwork...
Screening at 8pm on Monday December 9 at Burj Park. Tickets are free on arrival.
Tuesday December 10: A Story of Children and Film
The world’s first movie about children in global cinema, A Story Of Children And Film is a poetic portrait of the adventures of childhood. Looking at 53 great films from 25 countries, it includes classics such as E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and The Red Balloon (1956). Combining a child’s perspective as well as director Mark Cousins’s famous documentary-style, the film is a celebration of childhood and cinema.
Screening at 8pm on Tuesday December 10 at Burj Park. Tickets are free on arrival.
Wednesday December 11: Red Blue Yellow
Najat Makki is a pioneering Emirati female artist, recognised not only for her talent but also for the role she plays in society. Makki has become a legacy and her life is a rich journey that is as colourful as her paintings. Yet, there are countless stories of hers that are just waiting to be told…
Screening at 8pm on Wednesday December 11 at Burj Park. Tickets are free on arrival.
Thursday December 12: Underground on the Surface
Oka, Ortega, and Wezza are three festival stars. However, success as they perceive it, evades them, as they fail to meet the approval of the upper crust of society. They are torn between their desire to be accepted by the top echelon and their wish to rebel against mainstream values, to create a truly revolutionary underground music genre.
Screening at 8pm on Thursday December 12 at Burj Park. Tickets are free on arrival.
Friday December 13: Tim's Vermeer
Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries of art. How did the 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer (Girl with a Pearl Earring) manage to paint so photo-realistically –150 years before the invention of photography? Spanning eight years, the epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he finally discovers.
Screening at 8pm on Friday December 13 at Burj Park. Tickets are free on arrival.
Saturday December 14: The Mummy: The Night Of Counting The Years
The Mummy: The Night Of Counting Years had its world premiere at Venice in 1970, and has topped the list of DIFF’s 100 greatest Arab films, published in the newly-released book, Cinema of Passion. The film is based on a true event: the 1881 discovery of the Deir al-Bahari cache, a complex of ancient Egyptian monuments. Wanis (Ahmed Maraei) is a young man torn between his loyalty to his late father (who sold artifacts to Cairo merchants), and the moral duty to reveal the location of the tombstone to archaeologist Kamal (Mohammed Khairy). It is a discovery that results in betrayal and even murder.
Screening at 8pm on Saturday December 14 at Burj Park. Tickets are free on arrival.