DIFF roundup

So I watched three movies at the Dubai International Film Festival last month, last year.

The current awards buzz kind of made me reminisce. So here goes…

First an aside….Given that there are rather few film journalists in the region, I was hoping to get picked for an all access press pass or at least have a response from the organisers saying why I didn’t qualify. This is not a rant, but a message of hope, that novice bloggers (like me) are encouraged as part of a community where the number of followers mean less. I know it’s not a logical choice, but then again I am an optimist. I end up digressing from what I actually wanted to write about ….

The three movies I chose to watch, I Tonya, The Shape of Water and The Killing of a Sacred Deer are all thought provoking and rather dark yet hauntingly beautiful. I am indebted to the organisers for bringing these pieces of cinema, presented uncut and in a spectacular setting that is yet so accessible.

Steeped in shock value, the three are quite distinct in their treatment. I Tonya is based on a real life story and is therefore the hardest to watch. However there is a beauty to ice skating that the big screen seems to magnify to epic proportions. The hope the lead character played by Margot Robbie displays is the kind that the world needs. One that doesn’t give up on dreams, on love and on oneself despite the odds life throws at you, including an abusive mother played by Alison Janney who actually humanizes the character unwittingly due to her inherent warmth .

The Shape of Water is a sweeping love story that really throws the notion of first appearances out the window, with a very liberated older lead character that is played by an actress who doesn’t fit any Hollywood stereotypes. It’s similar to ‘I Tonya’ in the sense that despite some rather serious odds, alien genitalia included, love transcends all. Killing of a Sacred Deer is based on a Greek tragedy and a terrifying one at that. But more than romantic love, it puts two men who would do anything for their families at odds. All these fine films show the unbreakable spirit of mankind, in rather twisted ways nonetheless.

My personal choice of wanting to see these films also probably says a lot about my personality. Art mirroring life and vice versa? I won’t bore you with a Freudian analysis, for now.

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