While Jeff and I don't always make the time for it, we really do like the Arts. We are fortunate to have a pretty good film festival in Abu Dhabi and were able to make it this year after missing the past couple of years.
I don't know how other film festivals compare to the one in Abu Dhabi but this is the general idea: The festival lasts about 10 days and has several showcase films. Those films are all premiered, red carpet and all, at the Emirates Palace theater while the other films are shown at a local theater down the road. Jeff and I like to attend over the weekend where you can see three films each day. The films are usually followed by a Q&A session with whomever is in town for the festival - the producer, director, actors, etc. for that particular film. The film times range from shorts to full length feature films but most are around 70 minutes long. There are narratives, documentaries, short films, student entries, etc. and the films come from all over the world, not just regional.
|Forest Whitaker here to open the 2013 Abu Dhabi Film Festival.|
This year we took in the following films:
For Those Who Can Tell No Tales - An Australian performance artist discovers the silent legacy of wartime atrocities when she arrives in a seemingly idyllic little town on the border of Bosnia and Serbia. From Jasmila Zbanic, director of the Golden Bear winner Grbavica. We were particularly interested because we have friends who live in Bosnia and we are thinking about a trip to Eastern Europe in the spring. The film was a bit of a letdown, however, and we are still not sure what exactly she wanted to accomplish by making the film. We gave it a D.
An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker - Oscar winner Denis Tanović persuaded the real-life couple the story is based on to reenact their near-death ordeal. In this raw, intimate docudrama about an impoverished Roma couple and the ordeals they face in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This film again had the Bosnian link and with all of the Roma families in the news lately, we thought we would view it. Insightful and eye opening. As much as anything, it had me thinking about Obamacare back in the US. We gave it a B.
Blackfish - This mesmerizing psychological thriller about the performing killer whale Tilikum challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals. This was not really on our radar but we attended because we had time in our schedule. Very well made and very informative, the best movie we saw all weekend. I will never go to SeaWorld, the circus or a zoo again. The idea of animals in captivity is very disturbing to me, especially after we have been able to see them in their natural habitat in Africa. We gave it an A. Highly recommend if you ever have the chance to see it.
These Birds Walk - The struggle of wayward street children in Karachi and the Good Samaritans from Edhi Foundation who look out for them is captured cinema verité style, resulting in an ethereal and inspirational story of resilience under difficult circumstances. We are still not sure where the title comes from. We gave it a B+.
Child's Pose - This tale of an overbearing mother who uses her well-connected friends to save her son from jail after he causes a tragic accident won the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival. We attended this film because it won the top prize at the Berlin film festival. This film was very disturbing as there was not a single endearing character. It was also a bit difficult as it really reminded me of someone I know. We gave it a D.