European Film Screenings 2016 in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

The third edition of European Film Screenings is back, starting today and ends on 27th October 2016. The screenings will take place in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and this year's edition will include a selection of Arab-European films too. dedicate an entire Arab-European features programme.  

The screenings will be hosted by Novo Cinemas at its Abu Dhabi-based venue, the World Trade Center Mall Abu Dhabi in Abu Dhabi from 19-26 October, 2016, and at Ibn Battuta Mall and Dubai Festival City Mall in Dubai from 20-27 October, 2016. 

The screenings are free to attend and seating is on a first come, first serve basis. Based on the past two years, the seats get filled up quite fast, so attendees are advised to turn up at least 40mins before each screening.

Below is the line up and the schedule. 

If I had to pick my top five from this selection, I'd say make sure you don't miss Arabian Nights Vol.1 (Portugal), Very Big Shot (Lebanon) - I recently wrote about it here,  Goodnight Mommy (Austria), The Lobster (Ireland), The Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Sweden).


Director: Ivan Ostrochovský | Slovakia| 2015 | Drama | 75min
Abu Dhabi: 19th October, 8:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     20th October, 8:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 12

Koza is a former Olympic boxer. He and his partner, Miša, live in a dilapidated housing estate, constantly struggling to make ends meet. Miša learns that she is expecting a child and decides to terminate her pregnancy. Koza, who has not trained in a while, steps back into the ring, hoping to earn some much-needed cash and possibly change Miša's mind.  


Comme Un Avion
Director: Bruno Podalydès | France | 2015 | Comedy | 105min
Abu Dhabi: 20th October, 7:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     21st October, 7:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 1 

Fifty-year-old Michel is a computer graphics artist who has a passion for the aerial postal service and dreams of the French aviator Jean Mermoz whenever he hops on his scooter, even though he has never piloted a plane. One day, a series of photos of a kayak stop Michel in his tracks as the kayak looks just like fuselage. 


The Snake Brothers
Director: Jan Prusinovský | Czech Republic | 2015 | Comedy/Drama | 111min  
Abu Dhabi: 20th October, 9:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     21st October, 9:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 1 

Brothers, Grass and Cobra Snake, come from a dysfunctional family and feel unsatisfied with their lives. Grass, unemployed and still without a girlfriend, does not know how to escape from the shadow of his druggie and troublemaker brother, Cobra. Just as things begin to change for Grass when he gets the opportunity to be part of a promising business and starts a relationship, Cobra shows up and threatens his newfound stable life. This time, Grass decides to teach his brother a life lesson he should never forget.   


Swiss Shorts 2016
Dubai: 20th and 22nd October, 9:00pm, Dubai Festival City, Cinema 10

Hausarrest  | Director: Matthias Sahli
Haussarrest portrays the story of Max, who was sentenced to six months of house arrest. An electronic monitoring unit called Percy helps him through his new daily life, where he struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with his wife. One day, Max realizes just how much influence Percy has on his life and only sees one option to cut their ties. 

Lucens | Director: Marcel Barelli
Lucens is the “tragicomic” story of the first and last nuclear power plant 100% made in Switzerland. Using animated funny characters, in his short movie, Marcel Barelli, successfully manages to use humor, to tell the story of what could well have become a terrible nuclear accident in Switzerland. Entertaining, fun and full of second degree humor, this short movie won’t leave the audience indifferent. 

Nirin | Director: Josua Hotz
Nirin is 6 years old. His mother had promised they would go on a lovely long trip and Nirin is eagerly looking forward to discovering his country on a journey in a bush taxi, together with his two younger brothers. It’s the first time he’s leaving his native village in Madagascar. However, this great journey doesn’t turn out the way Nirin had imagined it. 

Subotika: Land of Wonders | Director: Peter Volkart
Subotika, a little-known island on the other side of the globe, endeavors to step up tourism in the Republic. In this dynamic, the Foreign Minister commissions an advertising movie, which portray an enchanting country, with extraordinary sights, grand visions, and a couple of minor problems. 

Suspendu | Director: Elie Grappe
At dawn, in a great classical dance conservatory, a boy falls while rehearsing some movements. Something breaks in his foot, causing him sharp pain. But it is exams day and the boy refuses to quit: he tries to face his dance partner and classmates, convincing himself his body has no limits.


Ricky Rapper and the Nighthawk
Director: Timo Koivusalo | Finland 2016 | Comedy/Family/Music | 72min
Abu Dhabi: 21st October, 3:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     22nd October, 3:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 12 

When out digging for angleworms one day, Ricky Rapper happens to find a treasure, and an archeological excavation is initiated at the scene. After a valuable ring dating back to the Iron Age disappears soon after it is found, it seems certain that a thieving nighthawk is in the neighborhood, scavenging the excavation.

With the intention to get to the bottom of all the bizarre turn of events, Ricky turns into an international adventurer who embarks on a hunt for the mysterious nighthawk. 

Meester Kikker
Director: Anna Van der Heide | Netherlands | 2016 | Family | 90min
Abu Dhabi: 21st October, 5:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     22nd October, 5:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 12 

The film is based on the successful children’s book of the same name which is written by Paul van Loon. The lives of Mr. Frans’ pupils are turned upside down when they discover that their teacher sometimes turns into a frog. Two kids see it as their task to protect his secret and to keep him out of the beak of a stork. 

Hördur - Zwischen den Welten
Director: Ekrem Ergün | Germany | 2015 | Drama | 80min
Abu Dhabi: 21st October, 7:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     22nd October, 7:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 12

After a run in with the law, Aylin - a 17-year-old Muslim girl and part of the Turkish Diaspora - finds herself sentenced to community service at an out-of-town horse stable in Germany. Beset by troubles at home and school, it is here that she, despite all odds, is set on the road to self-discovery.

As the pace quickens, her blossoming relationship with the stallion Hördur and her fledgling dreams are tested to the breaking point. Can Aylin build a bridge between worlds? And if she can, will others follow? 

Let Them Come
Director: Salem Brahimi  | Algeria 2015 | Drama/War | 95min
Dubai: 21st October, 9:00pm, Dubai Festival City mall, Cinema 10 

A Mediterranean chronicle of a family that has been let down by history. This is the story of Yasmina and Noureddine, who have to contend with the pressures of a domineering mother, a country that is adrift and the ruthless barbarity of extremism. Let Them Come is an adaptation of the novel by Arezki Mellal, who co-wrote the script. 


Director: Paul King | UK | 2014 | Family | 95min
Abu Dhabi: 21st October, 12:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     22nd October, 12:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 1 

A young Peruvian bear travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven. But when Paddington catches the eye of a sinister, seductive taxidermist, it isn’t long before his home – and very existence – is under threat.


The Lobster
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos | Ireland | 2015 | Comedy/Drama/Romance | 118min
Abu Dhabi: 22nd October, 7:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     23rd October, 7:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 1 

In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods. 


A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecing on Existence
Director: Roy Andersson | Sweden | 2014 | Comedy | 96min
Abu Dhabi: 22nd October, 9:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     23rd October, 9:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 12

Like a modern day Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sam and Jonathan, two traveling salesmen peddling novelty items, take us on a kaleidoscopic wandering through human destiny. It is a journey that unveils the beauty of single moments, the pettiness of others, the humor and tragedy hidden within us, life’s grandeur as well as the ultimate frailty of humanity. 


Director: Juris Kursietis | Latvia | 2014 | Drama | 98min
Abu Dhabi: 23rd October, 7:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     24th October, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 1 

Modris, a 17-year-old, who has a gambling addiction that makes his relationship with his mother difficult, since she keeps on reminding him that his father is in prison, so Modris must have inherited his bad genes. He pawns his mother’s electric heater so he can play the slot machines.

She betrays him to the police and, and as he begins his adventures in the Latvian justice system, his relationship to the outside world changes. Soon he becomes determined to find the father he never knew. 


Goodnight Mommy  
Director: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala | Austria | 2015 | Thriller | 99min
Abu Dhabi: 23rd October, 9:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     24th October, 9:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 12

Ten-year-old twins wait for their mother. When she comes back, her head wrapped in bandages after plastic surgery, nothing is as it was before. Stern and distant now, she shuts the family off from the outside world. Starting to doubt that this woman is actually their mother, the boys are determined to find the truth by any means. 


Director: Humaid Alsuwaidi | UAE | 2015 | Drama  | 97min
Dubai: 23rd October, 9:00pm, Dubai Festival City, Cinema 10

Growing up in a very conservative family where many things are ‘haram’ (forbidden in Islam), Abdullah struggles over the years to hide his love for music. 


Mia Madre
Director: Nanni Moretti | Italy | 2015 | Drama | 104min
Abu Dhabi: 24th October, 7:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     25th October, 7:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 12 

Margherita, a film director in the middle of an existential crisis, has to deal with the inevitable and still unacceptable loss of her mother. Margherita has just left her life partner and she has become unable to relate to her teenage daughter.

On the professional level, she is in conflict not only with her crew but also, and primarily, with Barry Huggins, a well-known American actor of Italian origin, who proves awfully bad and uncontrollable. 


Very Big Shot
Director: Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya | Lebanon | 2015 | Action/Thriller | 107min
Dubai: 24th October, 9:00pm, Dubai Festival City, Cinema 10 

Three brothers find themselves in the middle of a struggle with an armed man. One of the brothers, Ziad, shoots the man dead. His brother Jad, however, takes the fall and is sent to jail. Five years later, Ziad has turned their modest family bakery into a drug dealing hub for a local gangster.

With Jad’s imminent release, however, he wants to go legit, much to the chagrin of his boss, who asks him to do one last drop-off. When that-drop off is across the border in war-torn Syria, anything can happen. 


La Isla Minima
Director: Alberto Rodrigues | Spain | 2014 | Crime/Thriller | 105min
Abu Dhabi: 24th October, 9:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     25th October, 9:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 1 

The Spanish deep South, 1980. A series of brutal murders of adolescent girls in a remote and forgotten town bring together two disparate characters - both detectives in the homicide division - to investigate the cases. With deep divisions in their ideology, detectives Juan and Pedro must put aside their differences if they are to successfully hunt down a killer who for years has terrorized a community in the shadow of a general disregard for women rooted in a misogynistic past. 


Arabian Nights Vol. 1
Director: Miguel Gomes | Portugal | 2015 | Drama | 125min
Abu Dhabi: 25th October, 7:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     26th October, 7:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 12

In Portugal, a film director proposes to build fictional stories from the miserable reality he is immersed in. As he fails to find meaning in his work, he cowardly runs away and leaves the beautiful Scheherazade to stand in his shoes. She will require enthusiasm and courage so as not to bore the King with sad stories of this country. Therefore, Scheherazade organizes the stories she tells the King in three volumes. 


The Curve
Director: Rifqi Assaf  | Jordan | 2015 | Drama  | 80min
Dubai: 25th October, 9:00pm, Dubai Festival City, Cinema 10 

The Curve is about Radi, who leads a reclusive life in his own van, finds himself on a road trip with three strangers that alters his clockwork and very private lifestyle. 


La Supplication / Voices from Chernobyl
Director: Pol Cruchten | Luxemborg | 2016 | Documentary | 85min
Abu Dhabi: 25th October, 9:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     26th October, 9:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 12

This film does not deal with Chernobyl, but rather with the world of Chernobyl, about which we know very little. Eyewitness reports have survived: scientists, teachers, journalists, couples, children. They tell of their old daily lives, then of the catastrophe. Their voices form a long, terrible but necessary supplication which traverses borders and stimulates us to question our status quo. 


Miasto 44 / Warsaw 44
Director: Jan Komasa | Poland | 2014 | Drama | 130min
Abu Dhabi: 26th October, 7:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     27th October, 7:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 1 


A story of love, friendship and the pursuit of adventure during the bloody and brutal reality of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. 


Al Medina
Director: Omar Shargawi | Jordan / Denmark | 2015 | Drama | 90min
Dubai: 26th October, 9:00pm, Dubai Festival City, Cinema 10 

Yusif decides to go back to his hometown, Al Medina, along with his Danish pregnant wife Sarah. His God-fearing heart is following a dream of returning to his roots searching for peace and happiness with his wife and unborn child. When he mistakenly kills a child beggar, his life changes irrevocably, thrusting him into Al Medina’s dark side. 


Men and Chicken
Director: Anders Thomas Jensen | Denmark | 2015 | Comedy/Drama | 104min
Abu Dhabi: 26th October, 9:00pm, The Mall at World Trade Centre, Cinema 8
Dubai:     27th October, 9:00pm, Ibn Battuta Mall, Cinema 1  

The film follows two special-natured brothers, Elias and Gabriel. After their father’s passing, they find out through the father’s will, that they are adopted. Despite their disagreements, Elias and Gabriel decide to seek out their biological father, and set out to the island where he lives. Surrounded by the island’s many odd personalities, they discover a most paralyzing yet liberating truth about themselves and their family.

European Film Screenings 2015

European Film Screenings 2014