From evocative biopics on Grammy Award winners Ozzy Osbourne, Neil Young and Peter Gabriel to electrifying concerts, and inspiring stories of female jazz musicians, and a journey into the unique fusion of Arabic, Sicilian, jazz and world music, the eighth Dubai International Film Festival is this year showcasing a series of films and concerts that blend music and movies in its popular Rhythm & Reels segment.
Six of seven Rhythm & Reels films will screen free to the public at the Festival’s outdoor venue, The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence from December 7 to 14, 2011. The Walk at JBR screenings will also be complemented by live musical performances by international and regional music groups.
On Thursday, Dec. 8, the 60-member UAE-German philharmonic orchestra takes centrestage at The Walk accompanying the screening of one of the classics of world cinema – GW Pabst’s Pandora’s Box. The 1929 silent melodrama, screened in the In Focus: Germany segment of DIFF, is based on Wedekind’s play Lulu, and stars the mesmerizing Louise Brooks as a thoughtless young woman who brings ruin to herself and those who love her. The print was restored by Martin Koerber of the Deutsche Kinemathek - a project of over 12 years. The live orchestra will be conducted by Philipp Maier, the founder and director of the UAE Philharmonic Orchestra.
Friday, December 9, will see two R&R screenings, beginning at 8pm at The Walk at JBR, with the world premiere of Haider Rashid’s Silence: All Roads Lead to Music. The film pushes the frontiers of music to bring together the sounds of Sicilian, Arabic, Jazz, and World, in this music-without-borders documentary. Following the screening, Rashid, whose film Tangled Up in Blue screened at DIFF 2009 and GFF 2010, will take to the stage for a special performance along with Australian virtuoso pianist Tom Donald, Sicilian Bagpipes, sax player and flaustist Tanino Lazzaro, accordionist Giancarlo Parisi, and Harp, Didgeridoo and Tambourine player Luca Recupero.
Later that night, at 10pm, the only indoor Rhythm & Reels screening will be held at the Madinat Jumeirah Arena: the spectacular Peter Gabriel: New Blood Live in London 3D concert. Showcasing the accomplished musician’s musical flair in conjunction with the 46-piece New Blood Orchestra, the film will make its Middle East premiere at DIFF. A seamless blend of graphics, animation, and imagery, the film is both a visual and audio feast. The concert footage features classic tracks from Gabriel’s repertoire of work including ‘Biko,’ ‘Don’t Give Up,’ and ‘Mercy Street,’ among others. Tickets to the dynamic rockumentary are on sale now.
On Saturday, December 10, The Walk at JBR will be home to the free screening of Neil Young: Journeys, directed by Academy Award winner Jonathan Demme. The film captures the Canadian singer-songwriter’s solo tour to Toronto’s Massey Hall, and features classic songs from Young’s collected works as well his new album Le Noise.
The critically acclaimed live motion picture Inni, based on the Icelandic band Sigur Rós, will be screened at The Walk at JBR at 8pm on Sunday, Dec. 11. Featuring concert footage directed by Vincent Morisset from the Alexandra Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, the film contains live tracks from every album produced by the band, including ‘Sæglópur,’ ‘E-Bow,’ and ‘Festival,’ among others.
On Monday, Dec. 12, director Mike Fleiss, whose credits include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hostel and Poseidon, brings the musical documentary God Bless Ozzy Osbourne to UAE audiences. The rockumentary takes viewers inside the eccentric mind of one of rock music’s greatest icons, uncovering stories from the musician’s past, and featuring interviews with musicians such as Tommy Lee and Paul McCartney. The film is a tribute to the artist’s career that spans over four decades. The film will screen free to the public at 8 pm.
Finally, making its international premiere in DIFF’s ‘Cinema of the World’ segment on Tuesday, Dec. 13, the American biopic The Girls in The Band directed by Judy Chaikin, is an inspiring story about female jazz musicians and big band instrumentalists from the 1930s jazz era. Accompanying the screening is a special performance by Parisian band Certains L’Aiment Chaud (Some Like It Hot), an all-female French band, comprising Kiki Desplat, Sylvette Claudet, Shona Taylor, Nathalie Renault, and Claude Jeantet, that celebrate the sound of early jazz.
Shivani Pandya, Managing Director, Dubai International Film Festival, said: “The Rhythm & Reels programme is one of the highlights of DIFF, bringing together movies centred on music and live musical performances in a seamless combination. This year’s selection of movies and live performances mark the universal appeal of music to cross over all geographic and social divides.”