Have you ever roamed around on your red living room carpet, pretending to be statuesque and majestic like Nicole Kidman at the Golden Globes? Do you clutch onto your Mom’s 80s Swarovski crystal ornament, imagining that it’s an Oscar while rehearsing your acceptance speech? Well, now you can finally put all of that useless malarkey into good use at the Gala red carpet events that take place during Dubai International Film Festival; the leading Arab film festival in the world.
Even though the Film festival is in its eleventh year, this has been the first time I’ve actually attended! I always seem to miss it and have heard some amazing things about it.
Every year, DIFF select an impressive variety of award winning movies which are both Arab and from all over the world. French, German, Spanish, Indian … you name it, they got it! It’s a great way to find out what’s going on in the rest of the world, cinematically and watching a foreign movie is great way to infuse a little culture into your life to shake things up a bit. Since every movie showing has been critically acclaimed in some shape or form, you can’t really go wrong! Just close your eyes and pick one. Live a little.
If you are lucky, you may see a film star or two such as Emily Blunt who was spotted chilling out in a sparkly canary yellow gown this year at the fair.
Or an Arab pop star such as a Haifa/Myriam-like character.
As well as the gala events at the Medinat Arena, movies are also screened outdoors at JBR beach and at Mall of Emirates.
The first movie I saw at DIFF was The Imitation Game with Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch. It was a true story about English mathematician Alan Turing, who helps crack the Enigma code during the World War in the 1930s.
I really loved this one; the acting was superb and the story was really compelling. I liked how the main character’s sexuality was an essential part of the story, but it didn’t define his whole personality. The ending was extremely touching and luckily I went alone, so no one judged me as I sat at the back row in the dark and cried bitterly at the end. I was just the weird, random dressed-up girl who bawls sporadically during movies… and thats ok. In fact, I find it lends an air of mystery (!)
There was a rather profound quote from this movie that stuck with me …
“Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”
I really loved this and I know I’ll remember those words for a long time.
The second one was a Disney fantasy movie called “Into the Woods” with Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp.
Being an avid fan of fantasy/musicals, I was really looking forward to this one. The spectacular cast really impressed me, but sadly it just didn’t do it for me. I liked some aspects such as how the fairytales intersected with each other. This made it very unconventional and unpredictable.
Having said that, the songs weren’t catchy and it dragged on way too long and rather aimlessly I might add. As much as I tried to like it, I just couldn’t. There are far superior fantasy movies out there such as Stardust, Oz the Great and Powerful and even The Brothers Grimm to name a few. This one paled in comparison and for a movie that’s meant to be magical, frankly it just wasn’t. I only watched two films this year as I had a really busy schedule, but next year I would love to see more …especially some foreign movies too!
Dressing up is the best part, so I decided to wear a Dee by Dalia skirt with a biker leather jacket and a quirky perfume clutch on the first night and mint green palazzo trousers and a lace top for the second event.
I kept it smart casual, but there were loads of men and women dressed in tuxedos and ball gowns. I think I’ll do that next time! After all, if you can’t dress up to the max for the red carpet, when can you, right??