Dubai movie fest opens with Firth film

The seventh Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) opened on Sunday with the Tom Hooper-directed "The King's Speech" starring Colin Firth, which movie pundits say is Oscar-bound.

Firth plays the leading role as Britain's King George VI in the historical comedy set in a time of fading empire.

A total of 157 films from 57 countries are taking part in this year's DIFF, where new Arab talent is also on show, particularly from Egypt.

"The seventh edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will be extra special not only for the powerful showcase of movies from around the world and impressive talent line-up of globally acclaimed actors and directors, but also for the largest selections of quality, contemporary Arab cinema anywhere in the world," festival director Abdulhamid Juma said before the opening.

Twelve full-length Arab films are in competition for the Muhr awards, including entries from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Morocco.

Seven of the films are making their screen debut at Dubai, including "Six, seven eight," director Mohammad Diab's latest film, which tackles the issue of sexual harassment in his native Egypt.

US actor and director Sean Penn, known for his political activism, will be recognised with an award, where festival prizes total 600,000 dollars.

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