the magic of cinema restarts from Saudi Arabia | Vanity Fair Italy

A bridge that unites cultures, a ring capable of relating different worlds in the name of the purest and most sacred art there is: cinema. This is the definition that Mohammed Al Turki chooses to describe the second edition of Red Sea International Film Festival, the festival based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, capable of bringing together not only a selection of titles from different parts of the world, from Indonesia to Syria, from Kenya to Algeria, but also many Hollywood stars ready to take part to this wonderful dream that is cinema. «We celebrate cinema, an art that has the power to connect and to convey emotions». say the presenters from the stage of the Auditorium of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Jeddah, the base of operations of the Red Sea International Film Festival from 1st to 10th December. If there is one thing that immediately becomes clear at the inaugural ceremony of the event, embellished by the choreography of a corps de ballet intent on recreating the camera movements of the directors who move behind the scenes and by the lights set between the walls that recall the vault starry nights of the East, is that cinema speaks many languages.

Mohammed Al TurkiDaniele Venturelli/Getty Images

Arabic, English, Spanish, Hindi and, of course, Italian, represented in the room by the master Giuseppe Tornatorenow at home at the Red Sea Film International Film Festival, and from Luca Guadagninoready to present for the first time in Saudi Arabia Bones and All, his latest film effort. “This is just the beginning,” promises Mohammed Al Turki as he approaches the microphone. «The Red Sea is a precious indicator of change that helps us turn our gaze towards the future, shining a light on many international talents who need to emerge». Even the Oscar winner agrees with him Olivier Stone, president of the jury of this edition. «We have 16 films in competition that talk about survival, migration, suffering. 16 films that can inspire us and help us make a difference», explains Stone, who will judge the titles of the main competition together with Nelly Karim, Kaouther Ben Hania, Levan Koguashvili and Ali Suleiman.

Yousra and Mohammed Al Turki Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

The Red Sea International Film Festival, however, is also an opportunity to pay tribute to the talent of professionals who have devoted their entire lives to cinema, and that is why, before the start of the screening of What’s Love Got to Do With It?, the film by Shekhar Kapur with Lily James and Emma Thompson chosen to open this edition, the British director takes the stage Guy Ritchiewho explains that he is happy and honored to «support creativity and encourage collaboration between cultures»; Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan – «Cinema is life, it represents the shining beauty that reminds us every day that we are alive», he says with a little emotion -; and the diva of Arab cinema Yousra, who says that being at the Red Sea International Film Festival is one of the most exciting moments of her life for her. At the end of the screening, the dozens of international guests – from Priyanka Chopra Jonas to a Sharon Stone with a beautiful tulle and taffeta dress; from Scott Eastwood to Andy Garcia; from supermodels Alessandra Ambrosio and Sara Sampaio to the star of Squid Game Park Hae-soo; from Henry Golding to Michelle Rodriguez – move to the garden of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel to conclude the evening with an exclusive concert by Bruno Marsfitter than ever with his red jacket and a repertoire that warms those present thanks to the notes of successes such as Marry You And When I was your man. Smiles, hugs, smartphones waving in the air as if they were flags and a sense of immense gratitude for being part of a small miracle that the deus ex machina of the Red Sea International Film Festival Mohammed Al Turki managed to create with love and dedication.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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