- October 17, 2010:
Abu Dhabi Film Festival features two major film stars engaging with the audience in different ways. In the afternoon, Lebleba, the grande dame of Arab film, takes part in an exclusive Encounter with the public, while the evening sees Gérard Depardieu taking to the red carpet for a Gala Screening of his latest film, Potiche.
The celebrated Egyptian actress Lebleba – star of over 70 films including the award-winning Hot Nights (Atef El-Tayeb, 1994) and Youssef Chahine’s The Other (1999) and Alexandria… New York (2004) - will participate in a special event held in the intimate setting of the Festival Tent, where she will share her views on the world of cinema and talk about her experiences on stage as well as in front of the camera. This not-to-be-missed event will be moderated by eminent Egyptian film critic Kamal Ramzi (Festival Tent, 2:00 p.m.).
Another highlight of today’s Festival program is the Gala Screening of Potiche, the new film by François Ozon, starring two favorites of French cinema: Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu. Depardieu is expected to attend the screening, which takes place at 9:30 p.m. at the Emirates Palace.
Keira Knightley stars in Never Let Me Go, a new film directed by Mark Romanek, which is part of this year’s Narrative Feature Competition. The first screening of this highly anticipated adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s popular contemporary novel of the same name is set to take place at the Emirates Palace this evening at 6:30 p.m.
Slackistan (New Horizons / Afaq Jadida Competition), the debut feature by director Hammad Khan from Pakistan, presents a colorful, funny and poignant snapshot of (postponed) life among the UK-educated, middleclass youth of Islamabad – “the city that always sleeps.” Screened at Marina Mall 1, 6:00 p.m. Another film from the Festival’s inaugural New Horizons / Afaq Jadida Competition is Oday Rasheed’s second feature Qarantina. A recipient of a SANAD grant, the film is a stark visual expression of the realities that have overtaken Rasheed’s hometown of Baghdad since 2003.
Today’s screening schedule also presents first screenings of two outstanding, very different films from the Documentary Feature Competition. Vibeke Løkkeberg’s Tears of Gaza is based on footage of the devastating 2008/2009 bombing of Gaza by the Israeli military, presenting a clear argument simply through its presentation. Also screened for the first time at the Festival is Queen of the Sun, by Taggart Siegel - a beautifully shot but unsettling exploration of the potential consequences of a collapse of the world’s honeybee population. Siegel takes the audience on a pilgrimage around the world, introducing some of the unsung heroes dedicated to the survival of the bees – and indeed of our own species.
This evening, the Festival’s newly launched Mapping Subjectivity program presents two seminal experimental Arab films: Elia Suleiman’s highly acclaimed Chronicle of a Disappearance (Marina Mall 6, 9:45 p.m.) and The Mummy, Shadi Abdel-Salam’s iconic film made in 1969.
The Festival’s line-up of free public events continues tonight with a Live Music Performance by Klavash, taking place at 8:00 p.m. at the Festival Tent.