The true story of a man haunted by the fear of death in occupied Kuwait will be told on celluloid for the first time at next month’s Dubai International Film Festival.
“To Rest in Peace”, the sole world premiere in the festival’s Gulf Voices segment, is a Kuwait entry set during the 1990 invasion. Director Fawaz al-Matrouk’s film, inspired by a true story, follows a Kuwaiti man who walks past dead bodies day after day. Stuck between his fear of death, and the respect and dignity for humanity that resides within him, he decides to bury the bodies himself.
It is one of a series of short films from around the region that are being screened at the event, in what is being described as a measure of the festival’s success in encouraging a Gulf-wide film industry.
The five films included in DIFF 2010’s ‘Gulf Voices’ segment are stories of honour and responsibility, war, comedy, family drama, and romance. Besides the world premiere, the others were debutd at the annual Gulf Film Festival. A series of additional documentary and short films from the Gulf are included in the Festival’s Muhr Arab competition and its new Muhr Emirati competition focused on UAE talent.
From Bahrain, independent writer and director Mohammed Rashed Bu Ali’s “Canary” tracks the lives of a man, a woman, and a young girl affected by a single canary. Each of the individuals has their share of loneliness and suffering, and the bird offers their sole relief.
In “Tasreeb” (Leaking), Omani filmmakers Amjad Abdullah Al Hinai and Khamis Sulyem Ambo-Saidi delve into the mind of a child who seeks solace from daily family problems by playing outside.
“Ar Riyadh”, a dramatic and thought-provoking piece of cinema from Saudi Arabia, explores the relationship residents develop with their surroundings in an urban environment. Director Talal Ayeel’s earlier work includes documentaries on Ramadan and autism.
And from Kuwait, “Shanab” (Moustache) by veteran DIFF and GFF filmmaker Meqdad Al Kout enlightens audiences about a problem that others may not really pay attention to: the inability to grow a moustache. His fate results in some unforeseen issues.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director of the Dubai International Film Festival said: “As the international home for Arab film, it is our responsibility and a point of pride for us to champion outstanding films from the Gulf. Every one of these films is a compelling narrative, crafted by filmmakers who feel very strongly about their role, their societies and their craft.”
The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival 2010 will be held from December 12 to 19.