Trio to be honored at Dubai fest

Tsui Hark, Rachid Bouchareb, Terry Gilliam honored

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DUBAI -- In keeping with its "Bridging Cultures" motto, the Dubai International Film Festival this week will celebrate the work of three filmmakers representing distinct areas of the globe: the Middle East, Asia and the West.

And the winners of the DIFF 2008 Lifetime Achievement award couldn't be more representative of the global village. Rachid Bouchareb is a Paris-born Franco-Algerian director, Tsui Hark a Vietnam-born Hong Kong director-producer and Terry Gilliam, the U.S.-born British writer-director and veteran of the seminal U.K. comedy troupe Monty Python.

Working from a list of hundreds of names, DIFF artistic director Masoud Amralla Al Ali, international programs director Sheila Whitaker and Cultural Bridge program director Hannah Fisher whittled down a shortlist of nominees to 10 names.

"We always look to the merits and the history of the filmmakers we consider and try to find those people whose work embodies our 'Cultural Bridge' theme," Al Ali said, noting that last year's winners were the late Egyptian Christian director Yousef Shaheen, U.S. actor-director Danny Glover and South Korean director Im Kwon-taek.

Two films by each 2008 honoree -- chosen by the directors themselves -- will screen beginning Friday, with Bouchareb's 1991 film "Cheb," an exploration of the clash of identities and cultures experienced by a young Algerian man raised in France.

"What this award does is at once confirm the greatness of each of these filmmakers and bring their works to the attention of a new audience for for the first time," said London-based Whitaker, a former head programmer for the London Film Festival. "We hope this program will help shift the focus of the movie world away solely from the West."

Also screening Dec. 12 are "Brazil," Gilliam's 1985 cult satire about a world dominated by an idiot of a Big Brother, and Tsui's "Shanghai Blues," a romantic comedy set in China after the end of the Japanese occupation. Screening Dec. 13-14, are Gilliam's "Twelve Monkeys," Bouchareb's "Little Senegal" and Tsui's "Dao."

Each honoree will receive a prize from American luxury jeweler Harry Winston.
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