ISRAELI FILM CONTROVERSY
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.