From 19 to 21 November 2020, the first edition of the Gulf German Film Festival will be presented in the UAE and Bahrain by the German Embassy Abu Dhabi at Cinema Akil, Dubai, and will be live-streamed throughout the UAE and Bahrain, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region.
This star-studded event will screen groundbreaking new German-language movies that range from art-house films to box-office hits, as well as children’s matinees and late-night movies.
The festival will begin with Undine by Christian Petzold, one of Germany’s most beloved directors who tells us a 21st-century vision of the classical tale of the water nymph ready to kill her lover if he ever betrayed her. It will be followed by Gundermann, by Andreas Dresen, focusing on the extraordinary and contradictory life of East German singer and songwriter, Gerhard Gundermann. A box office success, the film won six German Film Awards for Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Leading Actor, Production Design, and Costume Design.
Friday, November 20 will feature beautiful films including, The Perfect Candidate, a movie about a young female doctor with political ambitions who takes on the monumental task of running for municipal office within a largely patriarchal society.
As part of the festival, the “South of the Border” section introduces movies from Switzerland and Austria. One-Way to Moscow, is a comic-tragic take on the political surveillance of Swiss citizens toward the end of the Cold War. The Austrian-German documentary Born in Evin follows the filmmaker and actress Maryam Zaree on her quest to discover the violent circumstances surrounding her birth inside one of the world’s most notorious political prisons.
A festival highlight is A Hidden Life by Terrence Malick. This film tells the true story of an Austrian farmer who refused to fight for the Nazis. As an allegorical resistance drama, it reflects upon courage in the battle against evil.
The closing film of the festival is Dust by Udita Bhargava. This premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival 2020. It is an Indo-German co-production and is set around a young German who visits rural India after the death of his Indian photojournalist girlfriend. He subsequently embarks on a journey to the troubled heart of India.
Regarding the festival, H.E. Ambassador Peter Fischer commented: “It is truly a pleasure for German film excellence to be featured and made widely available in the UAE, and also Bahrain, despite the challenges in doing so. This is a testament to our close relations and shared interests in such a vibrant and touching cultural field.”
In relation to arrangements for the festival, Fareed Majari, general director of the Goethe-Institut (German Cultural Center), stated: “Due to the pandemic, this year’s festival will be held in blended mode. We will show the films at Cinema Akil in Dubai and we will stream them throughout the UAE. Filmmakers and talents will take part via video-link. The gala opening and red carpet event will have to wait until next year.”
Butheina Kazim, Founder and Managing Director of Cinema Akil: “We consider this first edition of Gulf German Film Festival a milestone in our longstanding partnership with the Goethe-Institut Gulf-Region which we have been working on together since the beginning of the year and are proud to see it weather the storm and come to life. The festival is our fourth collaboration with the Goethe-Institut and is the richest and most diverse lineup of German co-productions to screen at Cinema Akil. Since reopening in June, we have done our very best in implementing strict precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our audiences and a comfortable time at the cinema.”
The Gulf German Film Festival is a co-production of the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region, the German Embassy in Abu Dhabi, and Cinema Akil. It is presented in cooperation with and support from German Films, the Austrian Embassy Abu Dhabi, the Embassy of Switzerland Abu Dhabi, and numerous German corporate sponsors.