Tilda Swinton, Naomi Watts open the Marrakech Film Festival

Updated 30 November 2019

Tilda Swinton, Naomi Watts open the Marrakech Film Festival

  • The Marrakech Film Festival kicked off Friday with a moving speech by jury president Tilda Swinton
  • After her speech, the festival was officially declared open by Australian actress Naomi Watts

DUBAI: The Marrakech Film Festival kicked off Friday with a moving speech by jury president Tilda Swinton.

The festival, which launched in 2001, opened with a selection of clips broadcast on the big screen — including snippets of the 14 films screening in the Official Competition sections.

Before Swinton took to the stage, clips were shown from her films, including “Orlando,” “Snowpiercer,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

 “The Marrakech Film Festival is a legend,” she said. “It’s a beacon for cineastes around the world who come from all stretches of our planet to meet under the African sky, which gives its blessing on all us. It’s a privilege to be here.”

Swinton said that having grown up in a “cinema-less part of Scotland” her first visit to a film festival, 1985’s Berlin Film Festival, was a life-changing experience.

 “This empathy machine invites us to walk in the shoes and the lives of other people and is good for us all. Its all-embracing nature holds up the best of our dreams and dispels our fears, so that we can share our wildest imaginations in the healthiest way possible. Cinema is our chance to suspend time and space and everything that divides us. It immerses us and transports us. To unbuckle, listen and celebrate our differences and also our similarities.”

She also praised her fellow jury members — David Michôd, Andrea Arnold, Chiara Mastroianni, Rebecca Zlotowski, Mikael Persbrandt, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Atiq Rahimi and Ali Essafi.

After her speech, the festival was officially declared open by Australian actress Naomi Watts, who underscored the “exceptional gathering of my fellow actors, directors and friends and delighted festival goers. This year offers us the opportunity to discover the extraordinary breadth and diversity of Australian cinema.”

The ceremony was followed by the screening of Rian Johnson’s murder mystery “Knives Out.”

The festival runs until Dec. 7.


‘A Fall from Grace’ is a dark thriller with a fresh take

A still from ‘A Fall from Grace.’ Supplied
Updated 26 January 2020

‘A Fall from Grace’ is a dark thriller with a fresh take

  • Penned, produced and helmed by Tyler Perry, “A Fall From Grace" is now streaming on Netflix
  • The film tackles a rarely discussed subject — that of elderly abuse.

CHENNAI: Tyler Perry’s dark thriller “A Fall From Grace” — in which he also acts — reminded me not of Hitchcock or Agatha Christie or even Arthur Conan Doyle, but of Erle Stanley Gardner and his brilliant courtroom drama, with Perry Mason playing both lawyer and sleuth. 

Penned, produced and helmed by Perry, “A Fall From Grace,” now streaming on Netflix, is set in suburban Virginia and was shot in just five days. Middle-aged divorcee Grace (Crystal Fox) has murdered her young husband. She has even confessed to it, and it looks like an open-and-shut case. Public prosecutor Jasmine (Bresha Webb), a novice in the field, is asked by her boss (Perry) to get a plea deal from Grace. 

But when the two women meet — a much older Grace and much younger Jasmine — something does not seem right to the prosecutor, and much against the wishes of her boss and the accused, she goes about making her own investigations. 

There is a strong element of Christian faith running through the movie, and we see Jasmine tracking down Grace’s best friend Sarah (Phylicia Rashad), who also feels that there is something amiss. A series of flashbacks narrates Grace’s unfortunate story.

Disillusioned over her former husband’s affair, Grace flips for a handsome young photographer Shanon, who woos her with flowers and dinner dates. Sarah encourages her friend, and much like a Gardner plot, “A Fall from Grace” is peppered with hints and clues. Catch them if you can. But what finally turns out is a horror story of torture and turmoil.

Interestingly, the film tackles a rarely discussed subject — that of elderly abuse. It is said that 5 million older men and women are ill-treated every year in America, and “A Fall from Grace” has some disturbing revelations to show us. They are sheer horror, and the last word in human cruelty. 

The movie has its weak moments — some characters’ motivations are never fully explained, for example. But on the whole, it is a disturbing tale that will keep you hooked.