Top 10 Films to Watch Out For At DIFF 2015

Top 10 Films to Watch Out For At DIFF 2015

Dubai International Film Festival's Managing Director Shivani Pandya gives a list of movies that are a must-watch this year
Top 10 Films to Watch Out For At DIFF 2015
A still from The Man Who Knew Infinity

Film lovers take note! It’s that time of the year to feast on the best of international cinema, meet some of the most talented actors in the world and walk the red carpet that celebrates all things about movies. The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is back and as always, there is a bouquet of films from different parts of the world to savour. But how do you choose what to watch and what to skip? We got Shivani Pandya, MD, DIFF to come up with suggestions. Here’s Shivani’s top 10 favourites at the festival this year…


1)The Man Who Knew Infinity

An inspirational film which illustrates the extraordinary intelligence of young Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan, who succeeds in attending Cambridge University and attempts to follow his dreams. With Slumdog Millionaire actor Dev Patel in the starring role, it is guaranteed to be a great watch.


This one is for thrill-seekers. It’s about Talal who wakes up in a holding cell of an eerie town. The film will leave audiences gripping their seats, as Talal fights for the life of his family through the twisted game a madman is forcing him to play.


A heart-wrenching tale based on a true story, Spotlight by Tom McCarthy, is a scandalous film exposing cases of child abuse within the Catholic cathedrals in Massachusetts. I chose this film as it is an excellent portrayal of real-life difficulties of the hardships and suffering of many in the past.


Truth is also based on a true story. It discusses the mid-2000s story of CBS News producer Mary Mapes and news anchor Dan Rather who face fire from their fellow media for their controversial expose on George W. Bush’s unwillingness to fulfil his military duties in the past. It reveals the real-life struggle of modern-day journalism in the face of influence. I’m sure audiences will relate to it.

5)The Assassin

The Assassin by Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien follows the life of raised killer Yinniang, played by the actress Shu Qi, in a dark tale of emotional turmoil that pushes her to breaking point, along with the viewers, when she is sent on a mission that compromises her instincts.


This film is guaranteed to take the audience on an exceptional journey through the treacherous beauty of Mount Everest. Capturing the intense feud between grieving Sherpa people and daring climbers, the film’s placement during the 2011 avalanche makes it a biopic that is not to be missed.


The tragic Room follows a mother and son held captive in a windowless room over seven years. This film will definitely pull on audiences’ heartstrings, as it did mine, as it delves into the never-ending love a mother possesses for her child.

8)A Syrian Love Story

For those who want to be inspired by love in all circumstances, I would recommend ‘A Syrian Love Story’. A breath-taking tale from Sean Mcalister, the film follows the story of a Syrian couple who met in prison and upon release, started a family under the recent events of the Assad regime.

9)Starve Your Dog

The plot set in Casablanca, describes the washed up lives of two people, a heavyweight politician and a filmmaker. This touching film really got to me, as it portrays the unbreakable link we have to the past, and what we can learn from it if we choose to listen. 

  1. Idol

The final film on my list is ‘Idol’ from DIFF veteran Hany Abu Assad. The film is an exhilarating tale that tracks Mohammad Assaf’s rise to stardom from his roots in Gaza. This true story is sure to inspire the crowd as it captures the hardships of living in a war torn country and the rewards of following what you truly believe in, no matter what.

The mentioned films are just a few of the larger concoction of brilliantly intriguing plots and array of exceptional genres that will be showcased at this year’s Festival. I for one cannot wait to see audiences experience the laughs and heartache as DIFF takes them on a cross-cultural journey.


The Annual DIFF Festival will be held from December 9-16, 2015. For more information and to purchase your Ticket Bundle Package please visit

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