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Home: Dubai Film Festival 2006: Daily Reports [Day 6]

Short films are like the unsung heroes of film festivals. Everyone sees them, or tries to, but no one acknowledges them in their coverage, probably because so many of them (almost all that I've seen) are too abstract and mostly subjective. This year I decided, for a change, to watch more than one short, especially something from an indigenous filmaker and I managed to do some good in this aspect.

UAE Filmaker Nayla Al Khwaja's well directed Arabana or 'Wheelbarrow' was interesting to watch, even if it didn't have anything radically new to say. At a little over 5 minutes, it doesn't cover much. A neglected young girl in a villa, ventures outside and meets someone who gives her candy, while her mother chats away on the phone. There is obviously a message here, about parental negligence in urban societies, but what was most pleasant about this short was how well made it was and a good fusion of sound, editing and great black and white visuals.

Another local talent, Abdul Basit Qureishi, had his film Mini Blooper up for viewing. A silent funny, with a scratched, unpolished look, it featured a man who gives a stranger a lift, only to have him die en route to their destination, with a dubious briefcase in his lap. What does he do? The tone of the short is similar to one of those 1920's whimsical silents that Hollywood would make, with the narration in the form of text appearing after scenes. While skillfully made and funny in parts, I was unable to determine the reason behind the choice of technique. The short might have worked better if had a strong script with dialogues, but again, that is just my opinion as a non-filmaker. With original music and a of people from editors to cameramen who are all from the UAE, I remain appreciative of the efforts put into creating this.

Perhaps the best short that I saw, from both a subject matter and an aesthetic perspective, was the perverse The Wash. Again, with a short span of only 6 minutes, it opens in a macabre fashion, with a bleeding Amercian flag. The flag fixer working on putting it up, takes it to a launderette with amusing and unexpected consequences. The last shot, where the imprint of the American flag has found its way on the flags of other countries as well, says something about what the short is about. While nothing substantial, it is probably a stepping stone for a promising career of its director.

Keep reading for tomorrow's update about the children's segment of DIFF.

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2006 Daily Updates: [Day 1] [Day 2] [Day 3] [Day 4] [Day 5] [Day 6] [Day 7] [Day 8]
15th December 2006
Screening Schedule
Cinestar Cinemas
00:45pm Unser Taglich Brot (Our Daily Bread)
00:45pm Valo
01:00pm Sound of The Soul
01:15pm Martyr Street
01:45pm Un Matin Bonne Heure (Early in The Morning)
02:00pm Death of a President
02:30pm Shahrukh Khan Ki Maut (The Death of Shahrukh Khan)
03:15pm Das Leben Der Anderen(The Lives of Others)
03:15pm Der Rauber Hotzenplotz (The Robber Hotzenplotz)
03:30pm Al Gorfah Rakem 12 (Room No. 12)
03:30pm Caz (Casa)
03:30pm Kaid Al Insaha'a (Under Construction)
03:30pm Kittat Baladi (Stray Cats)
03:30pm Maraya Al-Samt (Mirrors of Silence)
03:45pm Al Fahd (The Leopard)
04:15pm Encounter Point
05:00pm Conversations On a Sunday Afternoon
05:15pm Hollywoodland
06:15pm Bamako
06:30pm Ballets Russes
06:45pm A Fost Sau N-a Fost? (12:08 East of Bucharest)
07:00pm Kubrador (The Bet Collector)
07:15pm J'Ai Vue Tuer Ben Barka (I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed)
07:30pm The Blood of My Brother
08:45pm The Namesake
09:15pm Ostrov (The Island)
09:30pm V.H.S. - Kahloucha
09:45pm Jezile (Son of Man)
09:45pm Outsourced
09:45pm Sekalli Le Meokgo (Meokgo and The Stick Fighter)
10:15pm El Color De Los Olivos (The Colour of Olives)
10:30pm Ontarjatra (Homeland)
Madinat Theatre
01:00pm Sanxia Haoren (Still Life)
04:00pm Khochkhach (Flower of Forgetfulness)
07:00pm Diff Industry Panel: Operation Cultural Bridge - a World of Discovery
09:30pm Indigenes (Days of Glory)
DMC Amphitheatre
08:00pm Volver
Madinat Arena
06:00pm Charlotte's Web
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