Six films to watch at CineMAS, Manarat Al Saadiyat's alternative film festival

This year, the event will showcase the best of independent world cinema

Films to watch at Manarat Al Saadiyat's Alternative Film Festival include 'My Mexican Bretzel', 'Beyond the Visible - Hilma af Klint' and 'Tokyo Ride'. 
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The third year of CineMAS, Manarat Al Saadiyat's alternative film festival, has kicked off in Abu Dhabi.

Running until Saturday, this year's film festival showcases the best of independent world cinema with films following eight themes and a selection curated by artist Hind Mezaina.

The event opened with Tarzan and Arab Nasser's 2020 drama Gaza Mon Amour, under the theme of Celebration of Palestinian Independent Cinema. The film tells the story of fisherman Issa, aged 60, who is secretly in love with dressmaker Siham. It was Palestine's submission for Best International Feature at the 93rd Academy Awards.

So, even if you missed the first day, it's not too late to book tickets for the rest of the event.

Here’s a look at other films to see:

'Dreams of the City' (Ahlam al-Madina)

When: Monday, June 21 at 9pm

The 1984 coming-of-age Syrian film tells the story of Dib, as he grows up against a backdrop of political upheavals in the 1950s in Syria and Egypt. Major occurrences include the end of dictatorship in Syria and Gamal Abdel Nasser's ascent to power, the nationalism of the Suez Canal and the short-lived United Arab Republic between the two countries in 1958. It's partly an autobiography of the life of director Mohamed Malas.

'Cane Fire' 

When: Tuesday, June 22 at 9pm

Anthony Banua-Simon's 2020 documentary looks at the past and present of the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i through interweaving narratives of four generations of family history, numerous Hollywood productions and troves of found footage. The film looks at the economic and cultural forces that have cast indigenous and working-class residents of the island as extras in their own story.

'My Mexican Bretzel'

When: Wednesday, June 23 at 7pm

The 2019 docu-fiction film by Nuria Gimenez will have its UAE premiere. The film is told through 1950s and 1960s home movies in colour, using onscreen subtitles taken from the diaries of a woman named Vivian Barrett to help narrate silent images of her life with her husband Leon, a pilot in the Second World War.

'Sisters with Transistors'

When: Thursday, June 24 at 9pm

The British documentary, narrated by multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, takes a look at the women who pioneered electronic music. Telling the story of visionary women whose experimentations with machines redefined music, the film includes Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Bebe Barron and more. There will also be a post-screening discussion with culture producer and DJ Megatronic, which will be moderated by Mezaina.

'Tokyo Ride'

When: Friday, June 25 at 2pm

Ila Beka and Louise Lemoine's documentary Tokyo Ride will have its UAE premiere. Shot in black and white, the film follows famed Japanese architect Ryue Nishizawa and his vintage Alfa Romero for a day-long wander in the streets of Tokyo as he comments on his home town, buildings that influenced him and his own projects.

'Beyond the Visible – Hilma af Klint'

When: Saturday, June 26 at 2pm

The 2019 film takes a closer look at Swedish abstract artist Hilma af Klint, who died in 1944 and was an all-but-forgotten figure in the art world before her rediscovery. She was the subject of a recent popular retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum. The film describes not only the life and craft of af Klint but also how her works inspired other contemporary artists such as Paul Klee, Andy Warhol, Josef Alberts and more.

The full programme is available at


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