Music has always been the unsung hero of film — the element that transforms it from a half-breathing thing to a full-fledged creature of the screen. This year, Dubai International Film Festival is offering a handful of movies to catch for those music lovers in the audience — from Emirati shorts to feature length documentaries.
Arabic with English subtitles
Wudu is a 22-minute Emirati short directed by Ahmad Hassan Ahmad. It tells the story of two siblings who are nothing alike. Baheet is a cook and oud musician by night; he wants to fill his life with noise and celebration. Bahia is an undertaker, living with death and darkness every day. They live under the same roof, but can they reconcile their different lifestyles?
Sunday (December 10) at 9.15pm, Mall of the Emirates (Vox 17) – Dh35
Tuesday (December 12) at 3pm, Mall of the Emirates (Vox 17) – Dh35
La Melodie (Orchestra Class)
French with English subtitles
Directed by Algerian filmmaker Rachid Hami, La Melodie tells a familiar story. Disillusioned violinist Simon turns to teaching to make a living. With the help of an introverted, awkward and skilled student, Arnold, Simon rediscovers his love of music. Together, they prepare for the end-of-year concert at the prestigious Paris Philharmonic.
Thursday (December 7) at 9.30pm, Madinat Arena – Gala price: Dh100
Saturday (December 9) at 7.30pm, Galleria Mall – Dh35
The Man Behind The Microphone
Arabic, French and Arabic with English subtitles
British-Tunisian director Claire Belhassine makes her feature-length debut with a deep dive into the life of musician Hedi Jouini, known as the Frank Sinatra of Tunisia. Born in 1909, Jouini became recognised as a godfather of Tunisian music. A live performance will accompany the film at The Beach on December 9.
Saturday (December 9) at 7.30pm, The Beach – Free
Monday (December 11) at 9pm, Mall of the Emirates (Vox 15) – Dh35
Grain of Sand
Arabic and English with English and Arabic subtitles
This musical non-fiction film by British guitarist and composer Jason Carter explores the dichotomy of cultural identity in the Arabian Gulf. For just under an hour, Carter shows us the precarious life of pearl divers in the Gulf and the deep tradition of music that surrounds them. A live performance will accompany the film at The Beach.
Friday (December 8) at 7.30pm, The Beach - Free
Though not explicitly a musical film, My Generation by David Batty dives into the 1960s pop culture movement in the UK, including interviews with familiar faces like Paul McCartney. The legendary Michael Cane takes us through a whirlwind, colourful era.
Thursday (December 7) at 10pm, Souk Madinat Theatre – Dh35