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DIFF’s cinema of the world lineup grows with acclaimed films


From Danish filmmaker Janus Metz Pedersen comes the tennis drama ‘Borg vs. McEnroe’ starring Shia LaBeouf, Sverrir Gudnason and Stellan Skarsgard.

Eleven releases from across the globe have been added to the Cinema of the World lineup at the 14th edition of Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). Running from December 6–13, the programme features films from globally recognised filmmakers and actors.

From Indonesian director and screenwriter Kamila Andini, who will make her DIFF debut this December, comes ‘The Seen and the Unseen’. Her second feature film, it tells the heart-wrenching story of ten-year-old fraternal twins Tantri and her brother Tantra.

From Danish filmmaker Janus Metz Pedersen comes the tennis drama ‘Borg vs. McEnroe’ starring Shia LaBeouf, Sverrir Gudnason and Stellan Skarsgard.  The film dives into the intense real-life rivalry between iconic tennis players Björn Borg and John McEnroe as they compete for the Wimbledon title in 1980.

French director Xavier Legrand brings his feature directorial talent to DIFF with ‘Custody’, an intense family drama centred around a bitter and lengthy custody battle.

Saudi Arabia’s pioneering and acclaimed director Haifaa Al Mansour returns to DIFF with her second feature, ‘Mary Shelley’, the story of the love affair that gave birth to one of the greatest thriller novels of all time.

Making his debut at DIFF is Academy Award-nominated actor, writer, producer and director Rob Reiner with ‘Shock & Awe’, which takes a real-life look at a group of journalists who uncovered the unsubstantiated claims by the President George W. Bush’s administration that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

From acclaimed filmmaker Simon Curtis comes a unique biopic on the life of A.A. Milne and the beloved Winne the Pooh characters in ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’. Starring celebrated actress Margot Robbie and Harry Potter alumnus Domhnall Gleeson, ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ takes place in the devastated, post-war Britain of the 1920s, and tells the heart-breaking story of how the fame and success of the Winnie the Pooh series lifted a nation while burdening the Milne family and their son, Christopher Robin.

Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Hamzei makes his directorial debut with the feature ‘Azar’. A motocross enthusiast and pizza lover, Azar is not a conventional Iranian wife. Confident and capable, Azar is committed to the fledgling pizza restaurant she runs with her husband, Amir.

From Hollywood actor, writer, producer and director James Franco comes the celebrated ‘The Disaster Artist’.  It is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Tommy Wiseau’s ‘The Room’ from 2003, an undoubtedly awful film – named the ‘Citizen Kane of bad films’ by Entertainment Weekly –  that has become one of the most beloved cult classics of all time.

Australian director Craig Gillespie and Hollywood icon Margot Robbie have teamed up in this unique biopic on the life of Tonya Harding, ‘I Tonya’. Robbie produced the film and stars as the titular character, who was one of America’s most successful figure skaters and the first American female skater to complete a triple axel while competing in 1991.

Joining del Toro is Greek Academy Award-nominated director Yorgos Lanthimos with ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’. With an acclaimed cast including Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, the jarring tale follows Steven, a charismatic surgeon who is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice, after the acts of the teenage boy he has taken under his wing become sinister.

‘Hunting Season’, the debut feature film from Argentinian director Natalia Garagiola, made waves with its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, taking home audience choice for Best Film and the Critics’ Week Prize. In Patagonia, a respected hunting guide is suddenly faced with the education of his biological son, who was recently expelled from school. In a wild environment, the father tames his son and teaches him how to respect nature and human relationships.

DIFF’s Artistic Director, Masoud Amralla Al Ali commented on the selection of films: “Cinema of the World is one of DIFF’s most loved and celebrated categories, as it brings some of the year’s most anticipated global releases to the region. But it’s not just a category for Hollywood blockbusters and box office heavyweights. Cinema of the World is an opportunity for us to showcase the amazing work coming from every corner of the globe.”