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Posted On: 18 September 2018 08:40 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:01 pm

DFI Cinema: ‘Magicians of the Light’ screenings showcase 5 iconic films by cinematography masters

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The Doha Film Institute Cinema (DFI Cinema) is celebrating the vision of cinematographers who experiment with light to make their imaginations a compelling cinematic experience with the ‘Magicians of the Light’ screenings to be held from September 19 to 22 at the Museum of Islamic Art Auditorium.

Five films by accomplished filmmakers that demonstrate how they pushed the boundaries of cinematography to leave their legacy on cinematic history. In addition to the screenings is a masterclass by Richard Peña, Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University and Director of the New York Film Festival from 1988 to 2012, who will offer a visually stunning survey of cinematography in cinema. The masterclass will take place on Sept. 22 at 4PM in addition to Peña providing a fascinating introduction for select films in the series.

Fatma Al Remaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said: “Through DFI Cinema, we bring innovative film experiences to audiences in Qatar that help them enhance their understanding of the medium while appreciating great cinema. Magicians of the Light and Richard Peña’s masterclass will focus on the magic of cinematography, and how art has made a deep impact in redefining cinema over the years.”

On Sept. 19, Wednesday at 6 PM, watch director Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (USA, Taiwan, UK, Canada/2012), which won the Oscars for Best Director, Best Cinematographer (Claudio Miranda), Best Original Score (Mychael Danna), Best Visual Effects (Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer and Donald Elliott). The film is about Santosh and Gita Patel who board a freighter with their sons and a few remaining animals from their zoo in India. When a terrible storm sinks the ship, their teenage son Pi is the only human survivor but he is not alone: a fearsome Bengal tiger has also found refuge aboard the lifeboat.

Directed by Japanese master Kenji Mizoguchi, Sansho the Bailiff (Japan/1955) will be screened on Sept. 20, at >span class="aBn" data-term="goog_127966641" tabindex="0">7 PM. A film of unparalleled beauty it charts the life of Zushio and Anju, who are on a journey to visit their father, a banished governor. They are attacked, separated from their mother, and sold as slaves to an estate managed by the brutal Sansho. The children grow up as slaves on the estate, but when Anju hears a newly acquired slave singing song that mentions their names, they realise their mother may still be alive and make plans to find her.

Master director Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (Sweden/1957) Museum of Islamic Art Auditoriumwill be screened on Friday, Sept. 21 at 4 PM. It is about disillusioned Swedish knight Antonius Block, who returns home from the Crusades to find his country in the grips of the Black Death. He challenges Death to a chess match for his life. Block sets off on a journey, determined to evade Death long enough to commit one redemptive act while he still lives.

At 7 PM on Sept. 21, watch director Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (USA/1978). Visually and thematically, one of the most beautiful films ever made, it is a screen poem about life in America at the turn of the century. A story of love and murder told through the voice of a child and expressive images of nature, it tells the tale of a steelworker as he flees Chicago after a fight with his boss, taking his little sister and girlfriend with him.

The final screening is on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7 PM of Sam Mendes’s Road to Perdition (USA/2002). The film is about Mike Sullivan (Tom Hanks), an enforcer for powerful Depression-era Midwestern mobster John Rooney (Paul Newman). Rooney's son, Connor (Daniel Craig), is jealous of the close bond they share, and when Mike's eldest son, Michael, witnesses a hit, Connor uses the incident as an excuse to murder Sullivan's wife and youngest son. Forced to flee, Sullivan and Michael set out on a journey of revenge and self-discovery.

Tickets are priced QR35. Students and Culture Pass by Qatar Museum members can avail of discounted rates of QR25 per person. Tickets are available at DFI Ticket Outlet across the MIA Auditorium and online at

Cover image courtesy of DFI