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Dubai’s Cinema Akil Will be Hosting Global Film Festival ‘Il Cinema Ritrovato’

Introducing the festival to the Middle East for the first time

The first and only independent cinema in the region, Cinema Akil is a name that has become synonymous with the region’s film culture. Located in Dubai’s creative hub, Alserkal Avenue, the venue hosts an abundance of independent films from the region and beyond, classics that we never grow tired of seeing, like Taxi Driver and Hairspray (which are now showing,) providing cinephiles with a never-ending opportunity to expand their film industry knowledge as well as discover and enjoy productions hailing from all over the world with a cup of karak tea in hand. 

This week, the coveted cinema has just announced that it will host Italy’s Il Cinema Ritrovato, a prestigious film festival founded in 1986 devoted to film history, screening classics, retrospectives, and showcasing the latest restored films from labs and archives around the world. Set to kick off on Sept. 15 to 21, it will be the first time that the festival takes place in the Middle East. 

The week-long event is organized by Cineteca di Bologna, one of Europe’s most renowned archives for film restoration and preservation. Cinema Ritrovato on Tour will present seven renowned heritage films from Italy, India, Morocco, Iran, and Angola that were digitally restored by Cineteca di Bologna’s L’Immagine Ritrovata. Guy Borlée, the festival coordinator, carefully selected the titles to help attendees discover different periods of Italian cinema and new horizons in world cinema. As well as his curated selection, Borlée will attend select screenings to engage cinema enthusiasts in conversation. 

“The iconic Il Cinema Ritrovato has been an inspiration to our work at Cinema Akil throughout our journey since we opened our doors” reports Butheina Kazim, founder of Cinema Akil. “As one of the world’s most iconic film festivals dedicated to classic and repertory cinema, the festival’s programming and the restoration efforts of the Cineteca di Bologna is responsible for keeping humanity’s shared cinema history alive. With the support of our ongoing partners at the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi, it is an honor for us to bring this collaboration to Dubai as an affirmation of our commitment to the magic of cinema from across borders and time,” she added.

The festival will be opening its doors with Director Virrotio De Sica’s SCIUSCIÀ ,a pioneering work of neorealism which follows the trials of two shoeshine boys in post-war Italy. Released in 1946, the film became the first-ever winner of the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.

Il Cinema Ritrovato on Tour in Dubai is proudly presented by Cinema Akil in partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna, and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, fostering global storytelling and cultural exchange.

Tickets to Cinema Ritrovato on Tour are priced at AED 50, while a season pass is available at AED 175. Tickets are now available online here.


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