What to watch this Eid Al Fitr 2021: all the major films hitting UAE cinemas
From Arabic films to children's fare, here are the titles expected to be released in time for the holiday
Eid Al Fitr is traditionally one of the biggest weekends of the year when it comes to the region's cinemas.
Although this year's release schedule may be a little less hectic, with many blockbusters still on hold owing to the effects of the pandemic, we can still look forward to new films with at least 12 currently scheduled to be released over Eid Al Fitr weekend, which will begin on Tuesday, May 11.
There's plenty for families, a dash of action and a healthy dose of Arabic entertainment to look forward to.
We'll be keeping this list updated as Eid approaches, though bear in mind that schedules are always subject to change, even without a global pandemic to contend with, so always check local cinema listings ahead of time.
'Wrath of Man'
Director Guy Ritchie teams up with regular collaborator Jason Statham for the fourth time in a crime thriller about a security guard with a mysterious – but surprisingly lethal – skill set and a score to settle. Scott (son of Clint) Eastwood co-stars in this remake of 2004 French thriller Le Convoyeur (Cash Truck).
There are big shoes to fill for this Australian tale of five seaplane passengers who are trapped on a raft in shark-infested waters after their plane crashes on what was supposed to be a fun-filled trip. Steven Spielberg's Jaws, after all, set the template for the summer blockbuster back in 1975. 30 Rock's Katrina Bowden stars and, although the film isn't officially classed as a remake, the story sounds suspiciously similar to the 2018 low-budget shark attack thriller Surrounded.
Simon Barrett wrote horror greats including You're Next and The Guest. Then again, he also wrote the appalling The Blair Witch Project reboot Blair Witch, so it could probably go either way for this horror about a girls' school that's haunted by a former pupil. It already sounds like a heavy metal video, though.
There's probably little introduction needed for this Hindi remake of South Korean mob drama The Outlaws – its star Salman Khan has already come close to breaking the internet in India by hyping the UAE release of the film, about a turf war between two rival gangs.
'El Ens W El Nems' (The Mongoose and the Humans)
Egyptian actor Mohamed Henedi returns to screens in this comic story of a government worker who has problems with his father and, perhaps more worryingly, with zombies. The film also stars Menna Shalaby, Amr Abdel Gelil, Sabrien, Bayoumi Fouad, Mahmoud Hafez, Arfa Abdel Rassoul and Sherif Desoky. It is written by Kareem Hassan Beshir and directed by Sherif Arafa.
'Mesh Ana' (This is Not Me)
Mesh Ana was the first Egyptian film to be shot in Saudi Arabia since the kingdom reopened to cinema, although, after a number of pandemic-related delays, shooting was eventually completed in Egypt Media Production City last summer. Popular singer and actor Tamer Hosny stars as Hassan in the film, which tells the story of his relationship with his sick mother (Sawsan Badr). Hala Shiha also returns to the big screen after a 13-year absence.
You'd think it would be difficult enough giving birth to sextuplets. Not so for Lili, whose husband sells three of the children behind her back so they can afford to live. Lili has other ideas, and sets off on a global mission to find her missing children in this Arabic-language action film starring Lebanese singer and actress Haifa Wehbe.
'A Costume for Nicolas'
Nicolas is a boy aged 10 with Down syndrome in this festival-conquering Mexican animated film. Every year, his mother makes him a costume, and he's been a monkey, a pirate, a giant dragon and more. Unfortunately, his mother dies and Nicolas goes to live with Mia and Tomas, his loving grandparents, and his cousin David, who suffers from nightmares.
Nicolas keeps a trunk full of his magical costumes and, with them, he undertakes an adventure to save his cousin from nightmares and rescue a kingdom in chaos.
'Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon'
In the spirit of Moana and Frozen, Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon is the story of a young hero and her faithful spirit guides – Dillo, a cute armadillo, and Vaca, a goofy, oversized tapir. Born in the deepest rainforest, Ainbo and friends must embark on a quest to save their home and tribe in this Dutch/Peruvian/US co-production, presented in English.
'Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway'
Domhnall Gleeson and Daniel Oyelowo are among an impressive live-action cast in Will Gluck's adaptation of Beatrix Potter's much-loved children's tales, while James Corden, Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Debicki add the voices of our rabbit chums. This time around, Peter's family are forced to come looking for him after he escapes his garden home for a world where his mischievous nature will be better appreciated.
Felicity Jones and Patrick Stewart lead the English-language voice cast in this German fantasy based on Cornelia Funke's novel. Firedrake is a young dragon who is tired of living secretly in a valley and eager to prove himself to his elders. He teams up with an orphaned boy and a mountain spirit to undertake an epic trek through the Himalayas in search of the mythical Rim of Heaven.
'Demon Slayer-Mugen Train'
Haruo Sotozaki's anime made history on the first weekend of May as the highest-grossing foreign-language film to land in US cinemas. To be fair, a lot of US cinemas aren't open, and a $6.2 million opening weekend would normally be nothing of note, but we're in strange times, as are our sword-wielding anime heroes as they destroy the demon hordes in this adventure.
Updated: May 9, 2021 11:53 AM