Dubai fest rides with 'Darjeeling'

Anderson film part of diverse slate at growing event

A cultural mix of films from around the world make up the slate unveiled Monday by the Dubai International Film Festival, with organizers saying that this year's event will be the biggest yet.

The fourth edition of the DIFF, set to run Dec. 9-16, will show 141 films, from U.S. movies to the burgeoning cinema of Turkey and Iran.

"In 2007, we have 141 of the best international films from 52 countries, many of them from the Arab world," fest chairman Abdulhamid Juma said. "We have made numerous improvements for our fourth edition that will take us further in our mission to celebrate excellence in cinema and to nurture and develop local and international talent while also adding value to culture and the arts in Dubai and the UAE."

Leading the program's Gala selection is "The Darjeeling Limited," Wes Anderson's wry comic outing revolving around three estranged brothers and their train journey through India.

As part of a strong showing for American cinema, the Gala section also contains "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck; the Coen brothers' "No Country for Old Men"; and "Married Life," with Pierce Brosnan and Chris Cooper.

The strong U.S. representation continues with "Things We Lost in the Fire," starring Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro. Indie veterans Gus Van Sant and Wayne Wang complete the pack with the showing of "Paranoid Park" and "The Princess of Nebraska," respectively.

Other highlights include "A Man's Fear of God" from Turkey; "Hafez," from Iranian director Abolfazl Jalili; and "Silent Night," from Mexico'sCarlos Reygadas.

In a new development for the event, festivalgoers will be able to exercise their vote on some of the movies on offer via the People's Choice Awards, which will honor festival favorites in the feature, short and documentary categories. After each screening, viewers will receive a ballot on which they can rate the film they have just seen. The festival will add up the results and present the awards.

Organizers on Monday also announced that Danny Glover, Egyptian director-actor-producer Youssef Chahine and South Korean filmmaker Im Kwon-taek will be presented lifetime achievement awards for their outstanding work in cinema.