Red Sea Film Festival presents Saudi cinema to audiences in Paris

The program was presented in collaboration with Generation 2030. (Supplied)
The program was presented in collaboration with Generation 2030. (Supplied)
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Updated 06 July 2021

Red Sea Film Festival presents Saudi cinema to audiences in Paris

The program was presented in collaboration with Generation 2030. (Supplied)

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival presented a one-night only special event at the Arab World Institute in Paris on Monday, showcasing films by Saudi directors.

The Saudi Cinema in Paris event included the feature “40 Years and One Night,” directed by Mohammed Alholayyil, as well as short film “The Girls Who Burned the Night” by Sara Mesler, “Going South” by Mohammed Alhamoud, “Ongoing Lullaby” by Hisham Fadel and “And When Do I Sleep?” by Husam Alsayed.

The program was presented in collaboration with Generation 2030, a Franco-Saudi friendship association founded in 2019 that connects young French and Saudi creative talents.

“The Girls Who Burned the Night” tells the story of two Saudi sisters who are seeking greater independence when a harmless act of rebellion provokes tension and eventual understanding between the pair.
Meanwhile, “40 Years and One Night,” explores a family, an accident and a night of secrets that will change everything.

“Going South” recounts tensions between a newly married couple, and in “Ongoing Lullaby” the director essays the daily life of a woman pursued by a relentless inner monologue, when all her fears and doubts come to the fore.

Finally, “And When Do I Sleep?” plunges the viewer into a convoluted imaginary world in which the protagonist hears a voice in the middle of the night.


Winter at Tantora to return in addition to new festivals in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla

Organizers have revealed that the highly anticipated Winter at Tantora event is set to return. (SPA)
Organizers have revealed that the highly anticipated Winter at Tantora event is set to return. (SPA)
Updated 26 September 2021

Winter at Tantora to return in addition to new festivals in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla

Organizers have revealed that the highly anticipated Winter at Tantora event is set to return. (SPA)

DUBAI: Under the banner of AlUla Moments, organizers have revealed that the highly anticipated Winter at Tantora event is set to return alongside a clutch of other festivals, including AlUla Skies, AlUla Arts and the AlUla Wellness Festival.

The four distinct festivals will run in a staggered schedule from Dec. 21 to March 30, with a bevvy of both ticketed and free-to-enter events.

A Candlelit Symphonic Concert will be held at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra to officially open the Winter at Tantora festival, which will run until Feb. 12, with additional equestrian events set to include a haute couture horse fashion event, Ikmah Fashion Calvary, the return of the competitive Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Race and the AlUla Desert Polo competition.

From Feb. 13, the AlUla Arts festival will bring together exhibitions showcasing a diverse array of artistic talents. Al-Jedidiah will be a hub of art activity and performances, with the outdoor Cinema El-Housh presenting arthouse Saudi filmmakers and their work.

AlUla Skies, which will be available for booking from Feb. 27-March 12, offers guests the opportunity to book hot air balloon rides, vintage plane tours or helicopter rides over the rock formations of Madakheel.

And as part of the new AlUla Wellness Festival in March 2022, a Five Senses Sanctuary will offer up mind, body and soul experiences from expert yoga to meditation. For something more energetic, the Eco-Trail returns to AlUla and AlUla Oasis Fitness Infusion will offer daily, expert-led group classes.


Model Malika El-Maslouhi walks for Missoni at Milan Fashion Week

Malika El-Maslouhi walked the runway at the Missoni show in Milan. (Getty Images)
Malika El-Maslouhi walked the runway at the Missoni show in Milan. (Getty Images)
Updated 26 September 2021

Model Malika El-Maslouhi walks for Missoni at Milan Fashion Week

Malika El-Maslouhi walked the runway at the Missoni show in Milan. (Getty Images)

DUBAI: Moroccan-Italian model Malika El-Maslouhi hit the catwalk at Missoni’s Spring/Summer 2022 showcase at Milan Fashion Week on Saturday, showing off the label’s signature print in her latest outing on the runway.

El-Maslouhi showed off a patchwork, halter-neck dress in the Italian fashion house’s go-to knit material, complete with zigzag patterns in varying sober shades.

“A dream to conclude Milan Fashion Week with the beautiful @missoni show,” she wrote on Instagram in Italian, alongside a carousel of videos and photos from the show.

El-Maslouhi showed off a patchwork, halter-neck dress in the Italian fashion house’s go-to knit material. (Getty Images)

The ready-to-wear collection marked the first outing as creative director for Alberto Caliri, the longtime right-hand designer of Angela Missoni.

It was a daring collection dotted with bandeau tops with trailing side panels, midriff-baring patchwork jumpers and trench coats opened to reveal barley-there bikinis. There were, however, more sedate options, with form-fitting dresses in patchwork or zigzag lurex, such as the piece worn by El-Maslouhi, as well as alluring minidresses and fluid knitted trousers with a shimmering silver finish.

The show marks the latest outing for El-Maslouhi, who has been in high demand this fashion week season.

Designer-to-the-stars David Koma tapped the model to showcase his latest collection during London Fashion Week earlier in September, and the Spring/Summer 2022 line did not disappoint.

For her part, El-Maslouhi showed off a number of looks, including a form-fitting gown in fluorescent pink complete with thin spaghetti straps and a heavily feathered bodice. A hip-high slit finished off the look.

Next up, the model showed off a black oversized hooded sweatshirt and matching leggings, both adorned with large reflective sequins.

The model was hot off a series of runway showcases at New York Fashion Week, where she walked for the likes of Ulla Johnson, Prabal Gurung and Peter Dundas’s collaboration with online retailer Revolve.  

The breakout star has been taking the industry by storm since making her modelling debut when she was 18-years-old.

In addition to gracing the runways of storied fashion houses such as Dior, Chanel, Valentino and Jacquemus, among others, the fashion star has also appeared in international campaigns for the likes of Off-White, Lanvin, Calvin Klein Swim and Zadig & Voltaire.


Run-of-the-mill Netflix thriller ‘Intrusion’ does not have much to hide

‘Intrusion’ is now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)
‘Intrusion’ is now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)
Updated 26 September 2021

Run-of-the-mill Netflix thriller ‘Intrusion’ does not have much to hide

‘Intrusion’ is now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)

LONDON: We may have now reached a point whereby “middle-of-the-road Netflix thriller” should become an official cinematic sub-genre. The latest in the streaming giant’s slate of so-so dramas is “Intrusion,” which stars Freida Pinto and Logan Marshall-Green as married couple Meera and Henry, a pair of Bostonians who have given up city life to build an ultra-modern, luxury house in small-town USA. When the two come home from date night to find their fancy house ransacked, the police seem a little confused that only their phones and laptops were taken, with all their fancy belongings left behind. Why didn’t the thieves take anything else? Could this not be the simple home invasion we’re supposed to think it is?

The film stars Freida Pinto and Logan Marshall-Green. (Supplied)

Meera, inevitably, asks the same questions. Still reeling from the sense of violation after her home has been invaded, she begins to second-guess the details of the investigation. Why do the police seem so antagonistic towards them? Why is Henry so calm about the break-in? And what does any of it have to do with the case of a missing local teenager?

Director Adam Salky manages a few jump scares as Meera begins to poke around, but “Intrusion” lacks much in the way of palpable tension — Pinto frowns pretty well as she uncovers clue after clue, but the revelations of the final third are telegraphed in the first, and what is supposed to be the big finish might seem like a surprise to Meera, but audiences will be frustratingly ahead of her.

Director Adam Salky manages a few jump scares. (Supplied)

“Intrusion” is also clunkily written, which is a shame given that it is penned by Chris Sparling, who wrote last year’s entertaining and satisfyingly thoughtful “Greenland.” There is just something so unerringly predictable about Meera being led from one breadcrumb to the next, gathering painfully obvious clues that will have audiences shouting at the screen. At one point she seems like she has put the entire issue to bed — until you realize there’s about 25 minutes of the movie left, so you can expect at least one more twist. For a film built on a central mystery, there is very little that “Intrusion” leaves to the imagination.


‘Scenes from a Marriage’: The homage to a great screen work has little new to offer

‘Scenes from a Marriage’ was helmed by Hagai Levi. (Supplied)
‘Scenes from a Marriage’ was helmed by Hagai Levi. (Supplied)
Updated 26 September 2021

‘Scenes from a Marriage’: The homage to a great screen work has little new to offer

‘Scenes from a Marriage’ was helmed by Hagai Levi. (Supplied)

CHENNAI: Swedish legend Ingmar Bergman's 1973 “Scenes from a Marriage” caused a storm not merely in his native country, but also elsewhere in Europe. It is said that it led to a rise in divorce among married couples. His work, first as a television miniseries and later condensed into a feature film, traces a 10-year journey of a couple as they move toward a separation, and it is fraught with agony and uncertainty. Bergman inspired Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” and earlier Richard Linklater's trilogy “Before...” Currently streaming on HBO, and OSN in the region, a new miniseries, also called “Scenes from a Marriage” was helmed by Hagai Levi, a Golden Globe winner for co-creating and co-producing the television drama, “The Affair.”

Levi's “Scenes from a Marriage” begins with Jessica Chastain’s Mira getting ready for a television commercial shoot, and the camera intercuts to her apartment that she shares with her husband, Jonathan (Isaac Oscar), and their four-year-old daughter. While the couple in Bergman's outing are interviewed by a magazine journalist, we have a university graduate (played by Sunita Mani) doing this in Levi's series. She is researching what makes two people stay together in a marriage for a long time, given that many go their separate ways in an average of about eight years. 

Both Oscar and Chastain are undoubtedly great actors. (Supplied)


But Levi is on the same page with Bergman in the scene where Mira and Jonathan meet their friends, a couple played by Nicole Beharie and Corey Stoll. The dinner conversation veers towards unease when an argument breaks out between the visiting couple, which causes a strange reaction from our star couple. The pair soon face marital issues when news of an unplanned pregnancy comes to the fore.

Levi's “Scenes from a Marriage,” which premiered recently at the Venice Film Festival, although a tribute to Bergman, could have been more effective had it not been so faithful to the original series. The kind of dilemma in a marriage that may have been common nearly 50 years ago in Bergman's era is quite different today. It comes with its own set of challenges, pushed and provoked by the daily grind of modern living where two people have little time to work on their relationship. 

The HBO series is efficiently done, but is not remarkable as Bergman's. Both Oscar and Chastain are undoubtedly great actors. Chastain’s face is wonderfully expressive as it travels from misery, to anger to resignation. She is quiet one moment, mercurial the other. Oscar's character is calm most of the time, but the flicker of doubt about Mira surfaces now and then. He is not into quick fixes like divorce. Their performances make the series worth a watch. Otherwise, the five-hour long work can get painfully boring — Levi does not give us anything new to savor.


British-Egyptian actor cast as Princess Diana’s beau Dodi Fayed in ‘The Crown’

Emmy-winning Netflix series “The Crown” has cast British-Egyptian actor Khalid Abdalla. (AFP)
Emmy-winning Netflix series “The Crown” has cast British-Egyptian actor Khalid Abdalla. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2021

British-Egyptian actor cast as Princess Diana’s beau Dodi Fayed in ‘The Crown’

Emmy-winning Netflix series “The Crown” has cast British-Egyptian actor Khalid Abdalla. (AFP)

DUBAI: Emmy-winning Netflix series “The Crown” has cast British-Egyptian actor Khalid Abdalla to play Egyptian department store heir and film producer Dodi Al-Fayed, who had a brief relationship with the UK’s Princess Diana before their deaths in 1997.

Actor Salim Daw has been cast as Dodi’s father, billionaire and former Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed.

Princess Diana became romantically involved with Dodi in the summer of 1997. Their brief union caused a paparazzi frenzy that ended when the pair died in a car crash just months after they started their relationship.

Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki will over the role  of Diana from Emma Corrin, who played a young version of the princess in Season 4.