DIFF 2014 buzz: Emily Blunt lights up the red carpet on opening night

Actress Emily Blunt on the red carpet of the Dubai International Film Festival.
Actress Emily Blunt on the red carpet of the Dubai International Film Festival.

There’s nothing on earth quite like a red carpet.

On screen, movie premieres are presented as a shiny fast-cut collage of grinning famous faces, designer dresses and outlandish artistic excess.

The reality of a real live red carpet is, of course, rather different: For an average (non-celebrity) invitee it’s a brief, self-conscious sojourn, during which if you’re lucky enough to come into stalking distance of a celebrity you can expect to face a morale-killing verbal assault from photographers eager to get you out of their money shot.

And for a journalist (that’s me), it’s hours spent crammed in a press pen combatting said eager photographers for carpet-side space, waving a dictaphone hopelessly as passing pretty people.

But I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a certain magic to the whole thing. A film writer in a red carpet pen is the place where chin-stroking broadsheet artistic sensibilities and gutter celebrity sensationalism collide.

And so it was at on Wednesday, December 10, when more than 1,000 invited guests turned out for the opening night of the 11th Dubai International Film Festival.

But among this flock of well-dressed carpet walkers were more than 50 actors, actresses and filmmakers.

There was a wave of nervous anticipation in the gathered crowd, as guests and journos alike wondered what A-listers may make an appearance – a case of will-they-won’t-they jitters.

A wave of electricity spread down the carpet when Emily Blunt, in town to chair the IWC Filmmaker Award, strolled down the carpet in a striking yellow dress.

Earlier in the evening former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko posed gamely for photos in a striking silver number, threatening to upstage Blunt.

Among the most esteemed guests was Nour El-Sherif, the 68-year-old Egyptian acting legend, who was honoured at the opening ceremony with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

He will be back on the carpet on Monday, December 15, for the world premiere of his latest movie, Cairo Time, with director Amir Ramses also walking the carpet last night.

Later in the evening Bollywood playback legend Asha Bhosle thrilled the auditorium audience with an impromtu a capella performance, after picking up her own Lifetime Achievement Award.

Back on the red carpet British actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, known for his role in Lost, hinted to journalists on the red carpet about a new movie to be filmed in the region.

Other famous faces spotted on the carpet included Egyptian TV star Khaled Abol Naga and Pakistani pop singer Atif Aslam.

And a warm welcome was given to Oscar-winning director Lee Daniels, chair of the Muhr Feature Jury at this year’s festival.

Elsewhere Palestinian director Rashid Masharawi stood out from the crowd in a trademark black hat.

There’s more celebs set to appear later in the festival, with Paul Bettany and Kelsey Grammer among expected to walk the carpet throughout the festival, which hosts gala screenings ever day until closing night on Wednesday December 17.

To buy tickets or find out more head to www.diff.ae.

Published: December 11, 2014 04:00 AM

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