Hot properties: Ones to watch at Cannes 2022

Hot properties: Ones to watch at Cannes 2022
‘Boy from Heaven’ is by Swedish-Egyptian filmmaker Tarik Saleh. (Supplied)
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Updated 13 May 2022

Hot properties: Ones to watch at Cannes 2022

Hot properties: Ones to watch at Cannes 2022
  • William Mullally selects some of the highlights from this year’s lineup at the Cannes Film Festival, which opens May 17

‘Crimes of the Future’

Director: David Cronenberg

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart

It’s been more then 20 years since David Cronenberg played in the sandbox of body horror and science fiction. With “Crimes of the Future,” the legendary filmmaker behind gory classics such as “Scanners” (1981), “Videodrome” (1983) and “The Fly” (1986) firmly embraces his roots, reviving a story he has had in the back of his mind for years and never had the opportunity to tell — about a world in which surgery becomes a form of art. The filmmaker has reunited with one of his most fruitful partners, Viggo Mortensen, who plays the lead role. Mortensen was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for the pair’s last collaboration, 2007’s “Eastern Promises.”

‘Holy Spider’

Director: Ali Abbasi

Starring:  Mehdi Bajestani, Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Arash Ashtiani

Iranian-Danish filmmaker Ali Abbasi, whose last film, 2018’s “Border,” won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes, now finds himself competing for the festival’s biggest prize with a ‘pitch-black’ thriller, following a family man named Saeed who embarks on a dark quest to ‘cleanse’ the city of Mashhad of immorality — an endeavor that quickly turns deadly. As things progress, Saeed growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of public interest in his murderous mission, leading him to act out even further.

‘Tori and Lokita’

Directors: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

Starring: Mark Zinga, Nadège Ouedraogo, Alban Ukaj, Charlotte De Bruyne

At this point, Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are Cannes royalty, having won six prizes at the festival for six different films. That impeccable track record makes their latest, “Tori and Lokita,” a favorite in this year’s competition, with the always socially conscious filmmakers this time turning their attention to two friends who have travelled from Africa to Belgium only to be faced with its cruel realities as they struggle to survive. The film continues their turn towards more race-focused themes, with their last prize-winning film, 2019’s “Young Ahmed,” following a Belgian-Arab boy who falls victim to radicalization.

‘Decision to Leave’

Director: Park Chan-wook

Starring: Tang Wei, Go Kyung-Pyo, Park Hae-il

Korean cinema has finally broken through to the mainstream. While Bong Joon-ho may be the one who successfully broke the Oscar barrier, it was Park Chan-wook who first caught the eye of the world, with his controversial 2003 film “Oldboy” becoming one of the most widely-seen cult classics of the century thus far. With “Decision to Leave,” the filmmaker returns to Cannes for the first time since 2016’s “The Handmaiden,” this time following a detective who falls in love with a mysterious widow after she becomes the prime suspect in his latest murder investigation.

‘Boy from Heaven’

Director: Tarik Saleh

Starring: Tawfeek Barhom, Fares Fares, Mohammad Bakri

Swedish-Egyptian filmmaker Tarik Saleh makes his Cannes debut with “Boy from Heaven,” a follow up to his Sundance Film Festival winner “The Nile Hilton Incident.” While his previous political thriller stirred up some controversy in Egypt (he had to transfer production out of the country after the backlash), “Boy From Heaven” proves he has not lost his taste for confrontation. It is a political thriller following a power struggle in the wake of a high-ranking religious leader’s suspicious death.

‘Mediterranean Fever’

Director: Maha Haj

Starring: Amer Hlehel, Ashraf Farah, Anat Hadid

An aspiring writer and a small-time crook team up for a sinister scheme in “Mediterranean Fever,” Palestinian filmmaker Maha Haj’s return to Cannes after her debut, “Personal Affairs,” premiered in 2016. The film, set in Haifa, sees supporting actor from “Personal Affairs” —Amer Hlehl, who has been honing his craft with the UK’s Royal Shakespeare Company — promoted to his first big-screen leading role. He captures Haj’s trademark dark humor with an existential flare. While this is her second feature, Haj broke into film in the art department of Elia Sulaiman’s acclaimed films “The Time That Remains” and “It Must Be Heaven” before stepping behind the camera herself.

‘The Blue Caftan’

Director: Maryam Touzani

Starring: Saleh Bakri, Lubna Azabal, Ayoub Messioui

In one of Morocco’s oldest medinas, husband and wife Halim (Saleh Bakri) and Mina (Lubna Azabal) run a traditional caftan store in desperate need of help. The two hire a talented young man named Youssef — and quickly find that his presence is having a profound effect on their lives. With “The Blue Caftan,” Moroccan filmmaker Maryam Touzani, collaborator and wife of “Casablanca Beats” filmmaker Nabil Ayouch, returns to Cannes after her highly-acclaimed film “Adam” — itself about a modest bakery in Casablanca that takes in an unexpected guest — lit up the Un Certain Regard section of the festival in 2019.

‘Three Thousand Years of Longing’

Director: George Miller

Starring: Idris Elba, Tilda Swinton

There are few more interesting film careers than that of George Miller, the Australian filmmaker behind the “Mad Max” trilogy, “Babe,” and both “Happy Feet” films. Miller never received the respect he deserved until the release of 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” a deliriously masterful display of skills that garnered 10 Academy Award nominations that year. While we won’t see a follow up to that film until 2024’s “Furiosa,” Cannes will see the premiere of his latest epic, this time following a scholar (Tilda Swinton) who encounters a Djinn (Idris Elba) in Istanbul that offers her three wishes in exchange for freedom.

‘Armageddon Time’

Director: James Gray

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Strong

While it still feels the world has yet to take notice of director James Gray, the American has long been a favorite at Cannes. His previous films “We Own the Night” (2007), “The Immigrant” (2013) and the Brad Pitt science fiction epic “Ad Astra” (2016) all made their debuts on La Croisette. His latest is his most personal yet, based around his upbringing in Queens, New York and starring some of the best actors in the world, including a still-at-the-peak-of-his-powers Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Strong (“Succession”), and Anne Hathaway.

‘Triangle of Sadness’

Director: Ruben Östlund

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Harris Dickinson, Oliver Ford Davies

If you’re a fan of scathing satire, there’s a good chance you’re also a fan — or should be — of Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, whose previous two films, “Force Majeure” and “The Square,” were two of the most hilarious, not to mention deeply uncomfortable, films of the last decade. With “Triangle of Sadness,” the filmmaker has traded in the ski slopes of Sweden and the museums of Denmark for the sunny isles of Greece, filming his latest over 72 days on a deserted island during the pandemic. It tells the story of a pair of models who find themselves at a turning point in their respective careers.


Two Dubai eateries make World’s 50 Best Restaurants ‘extended’ list

Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. (Instagram)
Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. (Instagram)
Updated 05 July 2022

Two Dubai eateries make World’s 50 Best Restaurants ‘extended’ list

Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. (Instagram)

DUBAI: It seems that UAE restaurants are having a moment this summer. Mere weeks after the Michelin Guide launched in the country, two Dubai restaurants — Tresind Studio and Orfali Bros — have been added to an extended list by the World's 50 Best Restaurants list ahead of the unveiling of this year's awards on July 18 in London.

In the run-up to the main announcement, the extended 51 to 100 list is traditionally announced as a precursor, which “shines a spotlight” on restaurants to watch.

Tresind Studio came in at number 57 while Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. It’s the first time either restaurant has made it to the extended global listing. 

While Tresind Studio, which offers set tasting menus featuring fusion Indian food, received its first Michelin star this year, Orfali Bros also made it to the Michelin guide’s Bib Gourmand category. Founded by brothers Mohammad, Wasim and Omar, Orfali Bros feature dishes with a “certain nostalgia and whimsy.”

In addition to the two Dubai restaurants, Istanbul-based restaurant Mikla also made the list at No. 86. Showcasing picturesque views of Istanbul, the restaurant is the brainchild of Turkish-Scandinavian chef Mehmet Gurs. 


Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presents Fall 2023 collection in Paris

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)
Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)
Updated 05 July 2022

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presents Fall 2023 collection in Paris

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)

DUBAI: Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika returned to the runway this week as he unveiled his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. 

This is Hobeika’s first show with his son Jad Hobeika, who was recently named the co-creative director of the celebrity-loved brand.

During the label’s first physical show since the pandemic, Hobeika wanted to pay tribute to our planet through couture. The collection’s title, “Eternal Gifts,” reflects the presents that Earth gives to us, according to the show notes. 

His designs were inspired by waterfalls and waves, with gowns in Mediterranean blues along with sunset hues. 

German influencer Leonie Hanne opened the show wearing a mini dress with metallic feathers and crystal embroidery.

“Pinch me!!! Your girl opening the haute couture show for @georgeshobeika in Paris. So much love for Georges and Jad Hobeika,” wrote the runway star to her 4.3 million Instagram followers.

Hanne is one of Hobeika’s loyal clients and has previously been spotted wearing Hobeika’s glamorous creations during fashion weeks and film festivals. 

The father-and-son duo’s newest release featured glamorous gowns with metallic feathers, ornate embroidery, dynamic cuts and daring silhouettes. 

Unexpected cut outs marked the collection, with the models’ midriffs and hips on full display in some of the eye-catching gowns.  

They also showcased a few menswear designs, including blazers, luxurious coats and tailored pants in earthy tones, complete with Hobeika’s signature embellishments and pattern work.

Hobeika is not the only Arab designer on the Haute Couture calendar, however. 

Designers Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab will present their latest collections on Wednesday, while Lebanese fashion house Maison Rabih Kayrouz presented its couture and ready-to-wear lines on Monday.

“I think about the woman, I like to dress her for her real life,” Kayrouz explained to Vogue US. “For me design isn’t a mood, but a thought, a consideration,” he added.

His most recent collections built upon the designer’s famed reputation as a master of refined, understated style.

Taffeta and recycled polyester jostled for attention as fashion lovers took in an offering that was marked by voluminous trapeze-shaped sweeping evening gowns and billowing shirts.

Diaphanous fabrics worked to make the collection seem airy, while expert tailoring ensured it remained faithful to the house’s distinctive style.


Scottish star Lewis Capaldi heads back to the UAE for first Dubai concert

The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries. (AFP)
The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries. (AFP)
Updated 05 July 2022

Scottish star Lewis Capaldi heads back to the UAE for first Dubai concert

The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries. (AFP)

DUBAI: After sold out shows in the cities of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi is set to return to the UAE for his first concert in Dubai. The 25-year-old balladeer, famous for his powerful tunes, will take the stage on Nov. 24, 2022, at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena, which most recently hosted One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson. 

Capaldi last performed in the country at Abu Dhabi’s F1 after-race concert in 2021.

The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries and spent seven weeks at the No. 1 spot in the UK. His first album, “Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent,” was the biggest selling album of the year and was also certified platinum.

Fans attending his concert can look forward to hearing tracks like “Bruises,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and “Before You Go.”


Celebs remember late Tunisian designer at Alaia show in Paris

Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)
Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)
Updated 04 July 2022

Celebs remember late Tunisian designer at Alaia show in Paris

Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)

DUBAI: The who’s who of the fashion industry, including French model Tina Kunakey and Jordanian Romanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi, attended a runway presentation by Alaia on Sunday.

The label, founded by late Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa, released a statement ahead of the ready-to-wear Spring 2023 show that explained why the latest offering is being marketed with the slogan “Rough and Real.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ALAÏA (@maisonalaia)

“Real – as creation should remain far from the likes, far from the screen. These clothes are meant to be worn, meant to be touched and felt. Raw and imperfect, to effect and affect,” a statement signed by creative director Pieter Mulier read.

Shown on the eve of couture week in Paris, Mulier’s third collection for the iconic fashion house took natural fabrics and elevated them into fashion statements. Entire cowhides were shaped into skirts and lengths of boiled cashmere were transformed into cocktail dresses worn with high-heeled fur booties in a line that was equal parts raw and chic.

“It’s about taking all the codes of Azzedine and explaining them to the young generation that don’t really know it,” the designer said backstage, according to WWD. “It’s basically empowering women in a different way than other brands can do,” he added.

The Belgian designer explained that he took many cues from one of Alaia’s 1984 collections, while one design was a replica of a 1992 creation by the Tunisian creative talent that never made it onto the runway.

The glittering front row added to the glamor at the event, with Kunakey joined by her husband, French actor Vincent Cassel, as well as Naomi Campbell, Elle Macpherson, Karlie Kloss and Laura Harrier.

They took in the show in a gutted out space that is set to be a future Alaïa flagship store and offices.

Known to be a fan of the fashion house, Kunakey has showed off Alaia looks on a number of occasions, including in September 2020 when she attended a lavish Bulgari bash in Rome.

For the occasion she donned an elegant fuchsia-colored gown with a scooped, exposed back and a halter neckline. She elevated the look with a selection of sparkling Bulgari diamond rings and a serpent necklace.


Restaurateur Natasha Sideris talks Saudi plans, new dining concept in Dubai

Natasha Sideris is the founder and CEO of Tashas Group. (Supplied)
Natasha Sideris is the founder and CEO of Tashas Group. (Supplied)
Updated 04 July 2022

Restaurateur Natasha Sideris talks Saudi plans, new dining concept in Dubai

Natasha Sideris is the founder and CEO of Tashas Group. (Supplied)

DUBAI: It’s one of Dubai’s most buzzed about eateries and while the Instagram-worthy Flamingo Room readies to open its doors in Riyadh later this year, we caught up with restaurateur Natasha Sideris to find out more about her success and worldwide expansion plans.

The founder and CEO of Tashas Group, which has a portfolio of varied dining concepts, shed light on why she sees Saudi Arabia as a growing market, as well as her plans for new dining outlets.

“Our decision to expand into Saudi was informed by two things. Firstly, the location that we have found for Flamingo Room by tashas is extraordinary in Bujairi Terrace. Secondly, I think that there are wonderful opportunities in the country. It is a previously untapped market with a large population that is open to new concepts,” Sideris told Arab News.

“As with any new market, there will be challenges,” she added, explain that “we have spent eight years in the UAE forging great relationships with suppliers, shopfitters (and) photographers. It will take time to build relationships with new suppliers, but we are well on our way.”

Curating the concept specially for the Kingdom’s market, the group will open the destination restaurant in a three-storey building inspired by Najd architecture in Diriyah, on the banks of Wadi Hanifah.

The group, which was founded in South Africa and operates out of Dubai in the UAE, has seven brands under its umbrella: tashas, Le Parc by tashas, Flamingo Room by tashas, Avli by tashas, Galaxy Bar, Collective Africa, and 1701.

In addition to its expansion into Saudi Arabia, in the next six to 12 months the group plans to open five other locations, in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, South Africa and London.

“We are going to enter the UK market slowly and sensibly,” Sideris revealed. “The pandemic, as well as Brexit, have made a major impact so we want to make sure we adapt the concept to the market and, all going well, we will expand the number of locations. “

The group is also introducing a brand new concept in Dubai’s Alserkal Arts hub. Called Nala, the project will offer diners luxury quick-service, something the founder said is important to her.

“This concept is close to my heart and we have been working on it for a couple of years. So many people are strapped for time yet would like to eat beautiful food in a stunning environment. Our goal is to serve our guests freshly prepared meals quickly and provide fantastic quality at the same time.”