Where are we? It's the Opening Evening Gala night of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) at the Madinat and nobody wants to miss this first evening. The arrivals are greeted with varying calls of approval from the Press pit and the public alike.
Morgan Freeman possibly gets one of the biggest shouts of approbation but the arrival of the voluptuous Hanan Turk, the Egyptian actress also causes the motordrives to spin. Hugh Dancy, Deepa Mehta, Adel Imam, Joseph Spaid; the list is an endless litany of thespians and directors, many of whom are household names. The most dramatic of the arrivals has got to be the Mongolian contingent from the film Kiran over Mongolia. As well as the magnificent robes, they carry a black eagle and a blistering white Siberian Gyrfalcon.
But this evening perhaps the main accolade should go to director Hany Abu Assad and actors Kais Nashef and Ali Suliman. In many ways this evening is theirs for the film being shown at the Madinat Arena belongs to them – Paradise Now. Dealing with the particularly sensitive subject of two young men who are told to carry out a suicide bombing, between them they have managed to produce a film that does not deify or criticise.
"When comedy attaches itself to tragedy you have a very magic moment," said Abu-Assad. "When fiction is touched by documentary, you have a magic moment. And that is what I always search for with my films."
Whether he has succeeded in his aim, this evening only his peers can judge.
"I do not always succeed but I try and that is important," he said. "We lesser mortals will have to wait another day before we can make a judgement."
Without a doubt this is a star-studded evening but there we have to leave them for their night of revelry.
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