IS­RAELI FILM CON­TRO­VERSY

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANSHEL PFEFFER

THE AWARD of a pres­ti­gious prize to an Is­raeli film has sparked yet an­other row be­tween Is­rael’s cul­tural es­tab­lish­ment and Cul­ture and Arts Min­is­ter Miri Regev.

Three weeks ago, Ms Regev crit­i­cised Fox­trot, a film telling the story of a fa­ther and mother deal­ing with the loss of their son dur­ing his mil­i­tary ser­vice. The min­is­ter, who ad­mit­ted not hav­ing seen Fox­trot, at­tacked its producers for mak­ing what she claimed is a film that “de­fames” the IDF and its sol­diers. Ms Regev de­manded that such films not be sup­ported by pub­lic funds.

How­ever, while Fox­trot, which was pro­duced with the sup­port of the Foun­da­tion for Is­raeli Film, does in­clude a dream-like se­quence in which sol­diers are seen mis­treat­ing Pales­tinian civil­ians, its producers in­sisted that it was not a po­lit­i­cal film, but a per­sonal fam­ily story.

The con­tro­versy reignited last week­end when Fox­trot won the pres­ti­gious Sil­ver Lion, the sec­ond-high­est award at the Venice Film Fes­ti­val. Ms Regev con­tin­ued her at­tack say­ing in a state­ment that it was “out­ra­geous to see Is­raeli artists con­tribut­ing to the in­cite­ment of the younger gen­er­a­tion against the most moral army in the world, while ly­ing un­der the guise of art”.

Ms Regev added that “it’s sad that Is­raeli films which crit­i­cise and de­fame Is­rael and its sol­diers are al­most au­to­mat­i­cally em­braced in the world”. She ac­cused the film

Maoz: Sil­ver Lion win­ner of “boost­ing BDS and Is­rael’s en­e­mies”.

Ms Regev’s state­ment drew an angry re­sponse from Fox­trot’s di­rec­tor and writer Sa­muel Maoz. “I haven’t won against Miri Regev,” Mr Maoz said. “I have no war with her. For war, you need two and I have not fought in a war since the (1982) Le­banon war. What won here is the film.”

While it did not specif­i­cally cite the Fox­trot row, the Is­raeli film academy on Tues­day re­tracted in­vi­ta­tions to the Cul­ture Min­is­ter, and all other politi­cians, to its Ophir Awards cer­e­mony next week.

PHOTO: BFI

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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