A cinematic treat

'Cinema Of Asia' shines at the Dubai International Film Festival, line-up includes focus on China

cieTHE DUBAI International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced its Cinema of Asia film line up, which this year will include not just East Asia, but also the countries of the sub-continent (excluding India) with selections from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Ranging from sensational spectacles and crime films to smaller cinematic gems, the section includes works by master film-makers and talented newcomers. For the first time, the Asian section of the festival includes a special focus: this year on China.

Simon Field, DIFF’s Artistic Director of International Programming, spoke about the Focus on China: “To recognise the growing international impact of China, we decided to shine a spotlight on the nation’s cinema. The selection is diverse, ranging from the epic 'The Banquet' to small treasure 'In the Season of the Horse', which like the prize-winning 'Tuya’s Marriage' is filmed in the awe-inspiring landscape of Mongolia. Both focus on the end of traditional ways of life. 'Getting Home' is a black comedy in which a man (played by famous Chinese comic Zhao Benshan) swears he will get his friend’s corpse home, come what may. Lastly, recognising that Hong Kong cinema now melts into that of the mainland, we include 'Exiled' by Johnnie To, master of the stylish crime film.”

Subcontinent film expert and DIFF programmer Uma da Cunha said: “I am pleased to have been able to bring three debut features to DIFF this year. All of them deal with the effects of poverty and modernisation on family and community ties, each approaching the theme from a fresh and distinctive angle. They are packed with energy, colour and confidence.”

cinemaFrom Bangladesh, Golam Rabbany Biplob’s 'Swopnodanay' (On the Wings of Dreams), an international festival favourite, is the story of a villager who finds a wad of cash and has no way of exchanging it or even finding out how much it is. He and his wife are set upon by profiteers, and their marriage sags under the weight of their ‘riches’. Enamul Karim Nirjhar’s 'Aha'! pits old-fashioned values against modern-day racketeers in the story of Malik, an old man living in a mansion in Dhaka that is coveted by real estate dealers. When Malik’s daughter returns from the US, the plot thickens, with reformed killers and amorous cousins added to the mix. From Sri Lanka comes Salinda Perera’s 'Dheevali' (Fisherman’s Daughter), with a strong central performance by Sangeetha Weeraratne. Valli, a young orphan, returns to her village and rebels against the inequities of its harsh feudal way of life.

Cinema of Asia is a key programming component of DIFF, which will run from December 9 to 16, 2007.

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