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9th Dubai International Film Festival, 2012

FIPRESCI Prize: "Yema" (Djamila Sahraoui)

In its ninth year, the Dubai International Film Festival is showing its strength: well programmed and funded, it is able to attract some glitter onto the red carpet (Cate Blanchett and Frieda Pinto, both jury members, walked it this year, Colin Firth and Kristin Davis dropped by for a charity gala). DIFF gives prominence to fine films from Africa and Asia as well as Europe — and of course, strongly programmes films from the Arab world, on which its Muhr competition focuses.

Thus the opening night film was The Life of Pi (Ang Lee did not attend but lead actor Suraj Karma did) and gala screenings included Haneke's Love (Amour) and the much anticipated Muhr competition film Wadjda. The crowd pleasing indigenous Australian film The Sapphires closed the Festival, with singer Jessica Mauboy, one of the stars wowing Festival guests at the after party.

For film lovers, highlights included Bertolucci's Me and You (Io E Te); Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master; and from India, Ship of Theseus by Anand Gandhi, a new voice in independent cinema, who, like Terence Malik, studied  philosophy.

DIFF screened a total of 158 films in 43 languages from 61 countries. Egyptian actor Mahmoud Abdel Assiz and British director Michael Apted received lifetime achievement awards. Michael Apted also chaired the jury which awarded the Muhr Award for Best Documentary to Khaled Qaisar's The Turtle that Lost its Shell (Al Solhofa Allati Faqadat Dir'aha), while the Special Jury Prize went to the Palestinian film Infiltrators (Al Mutasaliloon) by director Khaled Jarrar.

The Muhr Award for Best Arab Feature went to Wadjda directed by Haifaa Al Mansour. It's a feminist tale of a young girl's quest to own a bicycle shot inside the Saudi Kingdom where women have few rights and cinemas have been banned for decades. From Egypt, Nadine Khan's Chaos and Disorder, a spirited tale of power, manipulation and corruption, won a special jury prize.  It's a film which plays as a comedy, but one with a bitter undertaste. (Julie Rigg)

9th Dubai International Film Festival (UAE, December 9-16, 2012, FIPRESCI jury: Julie Rigg, Australia, President ("ABC Radio National"), Jean-Marie Mollo Olinga, Cameroun ("Le Jour" (daily)), Ziad Khuzai, UK/Iraq (guest member) ("Assafir", (Beirut, Lebanon), "Al Quds Al Arabi" (London, U.K.)), Karsten Kastelan, Germany ("The Hollywood Reporter"), Altaf MAZID, India ("The Assam Tribune"), Tarek Elshennawy, Egypt ("Tahreer Newspaper"). FIPRESCI Prize in the Muhr Arab feature film competition section: Yema by Djamila Sahraoui (Algeria, France, United Arab Emirates, 90min, DCP, 2012). Print Source: Neoncam Cinedesk (52 Avenue Pierre Semard, 94200 IVRY SUR SEINE), Tel: + 33 (0) 1 46 21 46 40, Fax: + 33 (0) 9 56 30 22 26 Mobile: + 33 (0) 6 29 36 78 01, e-mail: FIPRESCI Prize in the Muhr Arab short film competition section: Familial Fever (Homma Aailiyya) by Amr Abdelhadi (Jordan, 13min, DCP, 2012). Print Source: Amr Abdelhadi, Tel: +971561076277, e-mail: FIPRESCI Prize in the Muhr Arab documentary section: Infiltrators (Mutasalilun) by Khaled Jarrar (Palestine, United Arab Emirates, 70min, DCP, 2012). Print Source: Idioms Film (5th floor, Alkeswani building, Grand Park, Crossing, Almasouyn, Ramallah, Palestine), Tel: +9722976157, web:, e-mail:


Suffer For Those We Love. Jean-Marie Mollo Olinga reviewed FIPRESCI Prize winner Yema by Djamila Sahraoui which was shown in the Muhr Arab feature film competition section. arrow.
Women, Film and The Arab Spring. Julie Rigg examined women's voices at Dubai Film Festival's competition sections. arrow.
The Anger That Came Out of the Evils of 'The Deep Government'. Ziad Khuzai reviews Egyptan Winter of Discontent directed by Ibrahim El-Batout. arrow.
Three Fathers and a Wall. Altaf Mazid examined the Muhr Arab documentary section at Dubai Film Festival. arrow.
Have Grudge, Will Travel. Karsten Kastelan reviewed The Turtle's Rage (Schildkrötenwut), by Palestinian/German filmmaker Pary El-Qalqili. arrow.
Egyptian film Chaos, Disorder snatches the Jury Prize in Dubai. Tarek El-Shinnawi reviewed the Egyptian film Chaos, Disorder (Harag wa marag), directed by Nadine Khan. arrow.



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Dubai 2012

bullet. Index
bullet. Suffer For Those We Love
bullet. Women, Film
bullet. The Anger That Came Out
bullet. Three Fathers
bullet. Have Grudge, Will Travel
bullet. "Chaos, Disorder"