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Diff celebrates best films from the Arab world

Arabian Nights to feature films such as ‘Solitaire’, ‘The Traveller’ and ‘House Without Roof’

  • A still from 'The Challenge'.Image Credit: Diff
  • A still from 'Tour De France'.Image Credit: Diff

Films from Lebanon, Italy, Germany and France will feature in Arabian Nights, the programme that celebrates the best of the Arab World at the Dubai International Film Festival (Diff).

Lebanese director Sophie Boutros will bring her drama Solitaire for its world premiere. The film tells the story of a Lebanese family who prepares for the family of their daughter’s suitor to arrive, only to find out they bring conflict and heartache.

Another story also influenced by Lebanese heritage is Hadi Ghandour’s comedy drama The Traveller, about Adnan, a travel agent in a remote village in Lebanon who fantasises about exploring the world. But when his dreams come true, he loses sight of himself and his wife and child.

The Challenge by Italian visual artist Yuri Ancarani is a documentary about a talented falconer who prepares for a vital tournament in the heart of Qatar’s desert.

French director Henri Barges brings the world premiere of Nuts, a dark comedy that follows the hectic lives of two ruthless Lebanese women who fall in love with gambling while seeking to escape their tedious married lives.

Influenced by the heritage of Iraq, director Soleen Yousuf’s House Without Roof follows the adventure of three siblings in Germany who unite for the first time since childhood with the purpose of fulfilling their late mother’s last wish — to be buried in her home town in Kurdistan.

French director Rachid Djaidani’s second feature film, French Tour, is about reconciliation between contrasting generations and cultures. Following a violent clash with a rival, a 20-year-old budding rapper reluctantly shelters in Paris with a middle-aged man, played by Gerard Depardieu. The pair form an unlikely bond despite their differences.

Obaidah Zytoon, Syrian radio host and producer, and Andreas Dalsgaard, Danish director, will showcase The War Show, a personal documentary about the Syrian conflict. Documenting extremism and repression, audiences will get a glimpse of the hope and experience the defeat as Syrians’ hope for a better future is crumbled by violence, oppression and death.

German filmmakers Philip Gnadt and Mickey Yamine’s Gaza Surf Club is set in the war-ridden city of Gaza where the beach offers young residents feeling trapped a form of escapism, even if only for a short while.

Diff runs from December 7 to 14. Registration is now open. For more, go to