There’s nothing like a festive family film to get you and the kids in the mood for Christmas, and this year’s Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has a host of magical movies to spark the imaginations of young cinemagoers from December 9-16. We take you through the highlights for a heartwarming family cinema trip.
1. We’re particularly excited about the MENA premiere of ‘The Peanuts Movie’ (general release won’t be until 24 December), which brings the lovable Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Peppermint Paddy and the rest of the gang to the big screen for the first time in 3D. Charlie Brown takes to the skies on an epic quest with his best pal Snoopy to pursue his arch-nemesis the Red Baron in a heartwarming Christmas movie that will prove that every underdog has his day. Whether you grew up with the beloved Peanut characters or have children who’ll be meeting the characters for the first time, it’s a film not to be missed.
2. The there’s the international premiere of ‘Valley of Knights; Mira’s Magical Christmas,’ a Norwegian fantasy-adventure that’s set in two separate but connected worlds – the world we see around us and the magical world just beyond our eyes. In the Valley of Knights an evil lord intent on total power steals an enchanted suit of armour and is determined to hunt down the young Queen Eiril who has the final missing piece. But two courageous kids in our world aren’t going to let that happen without a fight and are coming to Eiril’s rescue. That’s if they can find the secret entrance to the kingdom. A beautifully shot family adventure to put everyone in the mood for a magical Christmas.
3. Shah Rukn Khan fans will love the Middle East premiere of Nagesh Kukunoor’s endearing film ‘Rainbow’, which tells the story of a young brother and sister (blind 9-year-old Chotu and older sister Pari) who embark on a journey across Rajasthan in an attempt to meet the great Bollywood hero, whom they believe will be the answer to their prayers that Chotu be able to see again. With their parents gone and their uncle absent most of the time the siblings have come to rely on each other entirely. An adorable, heartwarming film featuring about adventure, childhood and familial bonds, the ultimate message is a plea for us to recognise the beauty that’s all around us.
4. ‘Savva. Heart of the Warrior’ is a family fantasy adventure from first time director Maksim Fadeev in which Savva, our 10 year old hero, must try and save his family and the whole village from the vicious hyenas intent on running the humans out of town. Savva, in trying to escape the hyena’s wrath, finds himself stumbling through a magical forest where he meets Angee, an enormous white wolf and Puffy a wisecracking little creature that takes a shine to Savva. Together the new friends must make their way to the Magician on the Mountain, the only one capable of making their dreams come true and helping Savva rid his village of the hyena threat. The journey may prove to be the most perilous part of all and the three friends must pull together in order to make it. ‘Savva. Heart of a Warrior’ is full of courage, adventure and action as well as many heartfelt moments, this film is about dreaming big and the strength of true friendship.
5. Rounding off the programme is the GCC premiere of the coming of age story ‘Birds of Passage’ that has valuable lessons for people in all stages of life. In Olivier Ringer’s film, Cathy is gifted a duck egg by her eccentric father with the express warning that the baby duck will think that the person it sees first is it’s mother. In this case that person happens to be Margaux. Whilst Cathy doesn’t have a problem with this new arrangement, Margaux’s parents certainly do, believing that their wheelchair bound daughter cannot handle the responsibility of this duckling, they refuse to allow it into house. Margaux and Cathy, desperate for some freedom, run away so that they can look after and love the little duckling away from the prying eyes, only to be pursued by the anxious adults who are desperate to keep their children safe from harm. ‘Birds of Passage’ is a touching film about childhood adventure, friendship, independence and family.