Arts & Entertainment

Palm Springs Film Fest starts Thursday

Ewan McGregor in
Ewan McGregor in "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen."
"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" trailer

The 23rd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival gets underway this week. The 10-day event features about 190 films from more than 70 countries.

One film that’s generating a lot of buzz is the British comedy “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.” Ewan McGregor plays a fisheries expert an influential sheik reels in to introduce fly fishing to the highlands of Yemen.

The sheik outlines his vision to McGregor's character, saying “I have a dream that one day, when talk turns to what the Israelis did to the Palestinians, the Afghanis to the British, when voices grow heated and war is in the air, that someone will say, 'Gentlemen, let us arise — and go fishing."

Of the dozens of other foreign films on tap, just one hails from South Korea. “The Front Line” tells the story of the Korean War from the viewpoint a young officer sent into battle to investigate a case of friendly fire, or so he thinks. It’s described as an epic war story and a meditation on many Koreans’ hopes for reunification between North and South.

Several films from the Middle East explore the political and social turmoil happening in countries like Egypt. In “Cairo 678,” three women from different backgrounds unify to fight sexual harassment and abuse in their society. The title refers to the number of a city bus on which male passengers routinely grope one woman.

The 23rd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival starts Thursday, Jan. 5.