Feast of multicultural movies at DIFF today

DUBAI — The second day of the inaugural Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) will feature the debut of more than 10 films from the subcontinent, Eastern Europe, the Philippines and the Middle East.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 7 Dec 2004, 11:34 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:23 PM

The highlights of the Festival's second day include the gala red-carpet screening of Bollywood Hollywood, the new romantic drama from Indo-Canadian director Deepa Mehta.

Also on the must-see list is Filipino film Milan, the story of a group of Filipino immigrants struggling to make a new life in Italy. Guaranteed to strike a chord with expatriates from any corner of the world, the film follows the efforts of a young man heading for foreign shores in search of his fiancee and his efforts to blend into Italian society and fit in with his community of compatriots while trying to send money home. Director Olivia Lamasan will be at the screening.

The Arab world is very well represented today, with Moroccan feature In Casablanca, Angels Don't Fly; Lebanese drama Ring of Fire and a programme of Arabian short films.

A winner at the Cannes Film Festival, In Casablanca also revolves around an immigrant theme, this time following three men from a small North African village who move to Casablanca in the hopes of finding their fortune, only to end up as poorly paid waiters. The film has Arabic and Berber dialogue, with English subtitles.

Ring of Fire, set in 1980s Beirut, is partly a study of a society under duress and partly a portrait of humanity. When a university literature class is interrupted by a street clash, the professor is forced to take refuge in a dark underground room with students he does not recognise. A flirtation he begins there eventually throws his entire life into disarray.

Today's Arabian Shorts programme is also sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The first film, Visit Iraq, focuses on Western attitudes towards Arabs and the Iraqi war by observing the neighbours of the deserted Iraqi Airlines office; the second, Ashes, highlights the differences between generations at a burial; and the third, Van Express, follows two Lebanese youth in a search for creative job opportunities.

Based on one of the most celebrated novels in Bangladeshi literature, the film Lalsalu (A Tree Without Roots) will also be screened as part of the Festival's offerings today. Set in the 1940s, the film is an exceptional portrait of rural Muslim life. Director-scriptwriter Tanvir Mokammel will be at the screening for a pre- and post-show introduction and discussion.

Award-winning Pakistani film Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters) will also be screening on Tuesday. A powerful study of the effects of the State on the lives of individuals, the film charts the life of a widow living in Pakistani Punjab who finds her family swept up in the aftermath of political events beyond her control. Both director Sabiha Sumar and star Kiron Kher will be at the screening.

Also from the subcontinent is madcap Indian comedy Raghu Romeo, with a special appearance by lead actor Vijay Raaz. This simple but affectionate tale of a naive and bumbling waiter in love with a television character and the efforts he makes to rescue her is sure to be a favourite with the Indian community.

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