DIFF 2015 — Top 5 Under The Radar

Five not-so-obvious movies to watch at the 12th Dubai International Film Festival

The 12th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival is upon us. With 134 films from 60 countries in 40 languages, it can be a herculean task to pick the movies to watch. One easy way is to go for the well-known releases and the award winners. But Film Festivals are also about experimenting, discovering movies that aren’t the obvious choices. Here, we pick five movies that could slip under your radar.

Cemetery Of Splendour (Rak Ti Khon Kaen)

If you have been following the foreign indie circuit then you must have heard of the divisive 2010 Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives by Thai director Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul. Joe’s follow up to the Cannes winner is another mystical meditative and spiritual tale of soldiers with sleeping sickness and their haunting dreams.


Victoria manages to achieve what just a handful of full-length films in the past have ever attempted. That is, have the entire film in a single take without any cuts or gimmicks – and no, Birdman does not count. The most well-known among them is Russian Ark, which was a historical drama. Victoria though is a crime-thriller and therefore has to juggle a lot of locations in the process. Apparently, the crew got the whole film right in the 3rd attempt – so that is 134 minutes of one single take!

Arabian Nights (As Mil E Uma Noites): Vol 1, 2, 3.

Don’t let the title mislead you – Arabian Nights is not a bouquet of short films locally/regionally made. It is in fact a Portuguese 6 hour, 21 minute epic drama based on the One Thousand and One Nights. Undoubtedly watching it will take up the entire day, but rarely does one get to experience work of this expanse and quality – it has been nominated for and won several awards – on the big screen. In 2008, DIFF brought us the 4hour+ Steven Soderbergh epic Che, and having watched and thoroughly enjoyed that, we look forward to this longer event.

Rams (Hrútar)

This little Icelandic film won the top prize at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section and is the country’s entry for the Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. The movie is a simple tale of estranged brothers who haven’t spoken to each other for 40 years, but set aside their differences when their flock of is threatened with mass slaughter.

Rattle The Cage (Zinzana)

Locally produced, Zinzana is an Emarati crime-thriller set in one location – a police lock-up. The movie is a cat-and-mouse game between a prisoner and a psychotic police officer, and if the trailer is anything to go by, it promises a heck of a ride. Look forward to the performance of Ali Suliman (Paradise Now, The Attack) as the murderous cop.

Tags: ,

About Shariq Madani

Shariq is a social, talkative, fun-loving guy who enjoys books, food and a long drive. But his real joy is in the comfortable darkness of a cinema, watching a good movie, and later spending hours discussing it.