On the first day of the Dubai International film festival, I got to watch three films. By the end of the day, my head was just a mix of shots and cuts and film plots. I started the day with watching the acclaimed Palestinian film, “Paradise Now” which actually was the opening film for this year’s festival. The film, which is masterfully directed by Hani Abu-As’ad, looks into the last 48 hours of the life of two suicide bombers from Nablus.
I have seen the film in Los Angeles, and I wanted to see it again to take a closer look at what made this film so good. After hearing the director speak earlier this morning, I came to realize that it’s the simplicity and non-artificial environment and characters that the director has put on the screen. The film actually has no music in it, and after asking the director about that choice, he said that he didn’t want to add any artificial stimulants for the audience.
The second film I watched was “Bab Al-Web” an Algerian/French co-production which talks about the story of a young Algerian guy ( Faudel) who spends much of his time in an internet café, chatting to people all around the world. He finds out one day that a girl he had jokingly invited to Algeria, has decided to come for a week. The film takes us through a variety of situations and plots from him preparing for her arrival, to dealing with her being a guest with his family.
The film was light and enjoyable, and provided many laughs. Yet on a deeper level it dealt with the dream of many Arab youth of leaving their countries to Europe. An enjoyable film overall.
The third film of the first night was he French film “Cache ( Hidden)” in which Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche play a couple who are terrorized by the videotapes and violent drawings left anonymously outside their door.
The film was long and slow, extremely lengthy shots were used throughout the film, and I just had a feeling that the whole thing dragged. It may also be that I was so tired by the end of the day. Yet I have to say that the acting was impressive and the film had its moments. Its just that I wouldn’t watch this film again.
This is the summary of day one so far.
Dubai is great so far, the mall where most of the films are playing is huuuuuge, my feet hurt from walking around between films. One could literally just get a workout from shopping here. Other than that, I bumped into 5 people I knew from school in the past 2 days, it is like a mini amman here.