More than a dozen films from around the globe will be marking their world premieres at the second Meta Film Fest.
The event will be held at Vox Cinemas in Dubai’s Wafi City from November 9 to 12 and 95 films from 32 countries will be presented. A third of these films hail from the region, signifying a stronger focus on Arab films when compared to the festival’s inaugural edition.
Here are nine highlights from the second Meta Film Fest.
The opening film of the festival is from Iran and tells the story of an exiled teacher living in a Baloch village situated along the border with Afghanistan. His life is upended when he meets and decides to help a family of Hazara refugees who have fled Afghanistan following the Taliban’s rise to power.
Endless Borders won the VPRO Big Screen Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and was nominated for the Carmel Award for best international film at the Haifa International Film Festival.
Jananam: 1947 Pranayam Thudarunnu
Written and directed by Abijith Asokan, this Malayalam film is among the titles having their world premiere at the festival. It has been described to India’s Cinema Express by Asokan as a “septuagenarian love story”. It follows a retired teacher living in a retirement home who falls in love with a widower who works there.
Russian filmmaker Anton Bormatov's Sindrom, also spelt as Syndrome, is a drama that tells the story of a car accident that transforms the lives of a married couple. Masha barely recognises her husband after the tragedy, and as more strange things happen, she soon begins to distrust her own perceptions.
Earthbound: Nzambi Matee
A documentary that follows Kenyan engineer and environmentalist Nzambi Matee. Directed by Farhoud Meybodi, the film shows how Matee responds to a cataclysmic environmental crisis in Nairobi. She puts everything on the line to formulate technology that can convert plastic waste into paving bricks.
The acclaimed Kuwaiti film will be having its UAE premiere at the festival. The film tells the story of Shihab, a disillusioned taxi driver, and his brother, Suhail, who uses a wheelchair. Their relationship is challenged after the brothers take an excursion out to the desert. Akh is directed by Hatem Hossam Aldeen Mohamed.
A Holy Conspiracy
An adaptation of the 1955 American play Inherit the Wind, A Holy Conspiracy is a Bengali courtroom drama.
Directed by Saibal Mitra, it revolves around a science teacher in a Christian missionary school who is imprisoned for teaching Darwin's theories of evolution and natural selection. It stars celebrity couple Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah, both of whom are expected to attend the film's screening at the festival.
A Holy Conspiracy is among a selection of films screening as part of the event's Indian Film Festival. The programme will also present Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, a 2000 English-Hindi bilingual feature by Jabbar Patel. It tells the story of B.R. Ambedkar, an Indian economist and political leader, who helped to draft India's constitution and is also known for fighting for the rights of oppressed castes. The film stars Mammootty in the titular role, a performance that earned him a National Award in India for Best Actor.
The UK’s official entry into the 2023 Academy Awards, Winners tells the story of two children from a small Iranian village who discover the lost Oscar statuette of Asghar Farhadi, a leading name in Iranian cinema. The two then embark on a journey to find the Oscar’s owner. The film is written and directed by Hassan Nazer.
A documentary by Nahuel Lopez that follows German photojournalist Thomas Hoepker as he sets off to explore the US with his wife. The journey comes after Hoepker is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2017. Dear Memories promises to be a moving portrait of an artist rushing to make more memories before they all begin to fade.
The debut feature of Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed El Samman, Rat Hole tells the story of Kholoud, a telemarketer who is desperate to make money and is given an unreasonable quote to fulfil. The film touches upon the darkness of Egypt’s non-governmental organisations and the scams they run.
Tickets to Meta Film Fest start at Dh35 per film. Festival passes are also available, which includes access to films, workshops, masterclasses and panel discussions. More information is available at metafilmfestival.me