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Be a Film Buff
Ludmila Cvikova, Head of International Programming at the Doha Film Institute and confessed cineophile tells us how we should be going to the cinema.

“There can be lots more to going to the movies than just blockbuster entertainment. It’s exciting, of course, to catch the latest big-budget films from Hollywood – we all love Batman, after all – but there are so many films out there that are using the specific language of cinema to tell their stories that don’t get to the movieplexes. If you’re hungry for other kinds of films and other forms of filmmaking, a great place to start in Doha is right here at our own Doha Film Institute (DFI). Besides the annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival, DFI shows films all year long – visit to find out what’s coming up.

If you do decide to look further into cinema that is a bit outside the mainstream, I recommend doing some homework before you go to see a particular film. Do some reading about the director – is this his or her first film? If he or she has a substantial body of work, is there a kind of theme that is often addressed? Are there other films by that director that sound interesting, or that you have seen before and like? It’s also helpful sometimes to know what is going on in the filmmaking of the country the film is from – developments in cinema often occur en masse in certain places (Romania is a particularly good example at the moment), so maybe some of what’s going on in that region will inform the film you are going to see.

Keep in mind, too, that while lots of the big movies we go to see are made to entertain us, there are other ways to use cinema. We can be told stories about people, places and events we know nothing about; we can be made to feel emotions we never knew were there. Films can construct their stories in a myriad of different ways, and sometimes they aren’t as straightforward as boy-meets-girl or good cop vs. bad cop. Don’t be afraid of or get turned off by films that are difficult – I think of this as ‘active watching’; trying to find your own personal understanding of what the filmmaker is trying to say. The more familiar you become with this kind of watching, the more you will start to relate to films that are further and further away from the mainstream, and the more adventurous you will become. Some films move very slowly.”

This year’s not-to-be missed flicks
Amour: Michael Haneke’s film is a beautiful and heartrending look at what love can really mean, and has been causing a lot of buzz at Cannes.

Beasts of the Southern Wild: Bend Zeitlin fantastical tale based on an idea of what could happened in the Bayou when the levees broke.

Just the Wind: Bence Fliegauf’s quiet and very disturbing look at the horrendous impact of racism.

Searching for Sugar Man: It took the Audience Award at DTFF this year, an intriguing documentary that exposes a largely unknown cult musician to the world at large – it was also a hit at Sundance.

When I Saw You: Annemarie Jacir’s tale of Palestinian refugees who flee to Jordan in 1967.

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By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

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