French director Jean-Jacques Annaud (Enemy at the Gates, Seven Years In Tibet) is back with another piece of epic cinema this weekend. Antonio Banderas, Mark Strong, Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed and Tahar Rahim star in his new offering, Black Gold.
Its arrival has also reminded us just how much we love those Eastern Epics. Anyone who says anything about Aladdin, please remain behind afterwards…
Black Gold hits cinemas on Friday 24th Friday.
Set in early 20th Century Arabia during the oil boom, warring leaders Antonio Banderas and Mark Strong come close to blows over a strip of no man’s land between them called The Yellow Belt. Both fearsome leaders want the land and neither one is backing down. In order to settle the dispute, Amar, Sultan of Salmaah (Strong) agrees to allow Nesib, Emir of Hobeika (Banderas) to take his two sons hostage in return for peace. Cut to the boys fully grown, the arrival of a Texan oilman creates havoc who tells one son that pesky patch of land is home to lots of precious “black gold” (oil)…fight!
A film based on the life of TE Lawrence, starring Peter O’Toole in the titular role. Upon its release it received huge acclaim from critics and fans alike, winning scores of awards including a BAFTA for best actor and Oscars for best director and best picture. This is one of the most impressive examples of epic eastern filmmaking the world has ever seen. FACT. Now regarded as an epic masterpiece of world cinema, it’s even been selected by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry for heaven’s sake. Now go and watch it.
Waltz With Bashir is an illustrated documentary film from Israel, written and directed by Ari Folman (a once soldier turned filmmaker). The story follows Folman in his search of his lost memories of the 1982 war with Lebanon. This man used flares to illuminate the scene of a massacre and is understandably tortured by his dark past. An unusual and thought provoking film entirely animated, apart from a small clip of news footage at the end; helping to educate the world on a period of time so many people have tried to forget. Not a gentle watch, but not something you want to miss.
This spy film, set in the Middle East, features Leonardo DiCaprio chasing a suspect terrorist across Iraq. Directed by Ridley Scott and based on the novel of the same name by David Ignatius, the film was barred from its original location in Dubai because of its contentious political theme. Subsequently they ended up filming in the USA and Morocco. A tale of double crossing, explosions and shootouts, this is a fast paced story full of twists and turns.
Another epic tale directed by Ridley Scott. This time a historical journey back to the 12th Century and into the midst of the crusades finds us following the adventures of Orlando Bloom. A lowly blacksmith flees France after his wife’s suicide, and joins the crusades in Jerusalem – protecting the city from attack by the Kurdish leader Saladin. Based (loosely) on true events, there are plenty of outstanding visual effects and some award winning performances. If you like your movies fast paced and your heroes clad in armour then you’ll love Kingdom of Heaven.
A sword and sorcery tale based on the hugely popular video game series of the same name. With a star-studded cast headed up by a very pumped Jake Gyllenhaal, it became one of the highest grossing films based on a computer game ever!