Catch a film under the stars, for free at the Dali Film Festival says ALIX NORMAN
By this point, the summer days may seem hot, humid and endless. Even if you’ve got the energy to drive to the beach and back, the excitement of the season can pall when you’re constantly unsticking your clothes from your body, the sand from your toes and your hair from your neck.
But come sunset, there’s some respite: the constant battering of heat lets up, a gentle breeze brings sighs of relief and suddenly your mind begins to clear. At which point you usually start wondering what on earth there is to do on a summer evening if you’re stuck in the city – there’s only a certain amount of ice cream any one person can consume; movies are often cost prohibitive and many of the restaurants have closed up shop. Luckily, there is an antidote to your summer woes: the annual Dali Film Festival.
Among the plethora of cinematic series on the island, the Dali Film Festival is a well-kept secret – a hidden gem and the answer to many a parent’s prayers. Based in the Summer Cinema Panorama in the middle of Dali, and running from July 29 to August 9, it’s less about culture and more about having a jolly good time. The films may not be the stuff of a film critic’s dreams (there’s a distinct lack of edgy monochrome offerings translated from the original Chinese by a Korean rice husker, thank goodness) but what you will get is an evening of blockbusting entertainment, in the cool of the evening, for free.
Let’s just reiterate – this festival is free! You can drop in on any evening, bringing the whole family, and it will cost you nothing more than the price of your preferred sustenance. Yes, you can bring your own food and drink – or even order a pizza from Pizza Indianapolis which sits right next door – and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere to your heart’s content.
“It’s a great deal for the whole family,” says Anna Michaelidou, Director of Cultural Affairs for Dali. “If you’ve got three kids, then going to the cinema can be really expensive, especially when you include the cost of snacks and drinks. But at the Dali Festival, you can bring your own popcorn, beer, drinks and the evening is totally cost effective.”
With seating for around 400 people, the annual film fest is usually well attended. “When we showed Avatar, three years ago, the cinema was fully packed!” says Anna. “And Toy Story 3 was another great favourite.” As the deciding vote in which movies are shown, Anna is diligent in her research: “I always make sure I’ve seen the movies first before choosing which to show. I look for general entertainment, nothing with too much violence or nudity, no stereotyping or political messages. I try to find comedies, action films and romances – movies that will please everyone.”
It’s all good family fun, in a delightful Mediterranean setting. With films screened on a huge wall, the cinema is a far cry from stuffy movie theatres with their frostbite-inducing air conditioning and rigid seating. “It’s quite magical,” Anna continues. “Behind the screen, tall palm trees wave in the evening breeze, while overhead stars fall from the sky. The same families often return night after night.”
With the 2013 festival boasting crowd-pleasers such as Life of Pi and The Impossible, this year’s programme is sure to draw in the numbers. Among the screenings, there are two 2013 full-length animation films to please the under-10s, Epic and The Croods, while Taken 2 adds action, and the antics of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Gerard Butler and Uma Thurman bring light-hearted romance to the agenda with Playing For Keeps. And there are even a couple of Greek classics Oi Kyries Tis Avllis and O Xazompampas to ensure there’s something for all audiences. Take your pick, and whisk the family off for an informal – and cost effective – evening of fun under the stars.
All screenings are at the Panorama Summer Cinema on Archbishop Kyprianou St in Dali, and start at 8.30pm with a 15 minute cultural film about various traditional professions in Dali. The main feature follows at 9pm.
- Monday July 29 Ice Age 4
- Tuesday July 30 Oi Kyries Tis Avllis
- Wednesday July 31 The Life of Pi
- Thursday August 1 The Impossible
- Friday August 2 The Croods
- Saturday August 3 Taken 2
- Monday August 5 Epic
- Tuesday August 6 O Xazompampas
- Wednesday August 7 Playing For Keeps
- Thursday August 8 The Croods
- Friday August 9 Taken 2
For more information, visit the Municipality of Dali website at www. Dali.org.cy or call 22 444888 or 22 444892