The Abu Dhabi Film Festival will open here later today with Philippe Falardeau’s acclaimed classroom drama, Monsieur Lazhar from Canada’s Quebec. The country’s official submission for next year’s Oscars, the movie purports to be a poignant look at love and loss.
Among the stars to attend the Festival will be American actress Evan Rachel Wood, who plays in George Clooney’s Ides of March, which recently opened the Venice Film Festival. But Clooney is not coming much to the disappointment of the actor’s innumerable admirers.
Lily Cole -- essaying as a boarding school girl in the rather spooky The Moth Diaries -- will walk the Red Carpet along with Topher Grace, who plays along with Richard Gere in The Double Premiere. But Gere again is not going to be here.
British helmer Michael Winterbottom will fly down with his India-based Trishna, adapted from Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Frieda Pinto has a prominent role here, but it is not yet clear whether she would be in town as well.
However, Pinto may well be at the Doha Film Festival, opening on October 25 with Back Gold, where she portrays a princess. Todd Solondz from the U.S. will screen his Dark Horse (premiered at Venice) and be in attendance himself.
A large contingent from the Middle East will be part of the Festival. Among them will be Iranian director Ashgar Farhadi with his latest A Separation. Marjane Satrapi will also be here with her Chicken with Plums (premiered at Venice), a wonderful follow-up to Persepolis.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is covering the Abu Dhabi Film Festival for the Hindustan Times for the second year)