Magazine article Screen International

Israeli Culture Minister Slams Venice Win for 'Foxtrot'

Magazine article Screen International

Israeli Culture Minister Slams Venice Win for 'Foxtrot'

Article excerpt

Minister describes film as an act of “self-flagellation”.


Controversial Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev has lashed out at compatriot film-maker Samuel Moaz’s Venice grand jury prize win for Foxtrot over the weekend.

The drama follows a family grieving over the death of their son while on active service with the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), intertwining their side of the story with an account of the man’s experiences while assigned to a remote checkpoint in northern Israel.

Regev, a former IDF spokewoman who has been part of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-leaning government since 2015, is up in arms about the way in which Israeli soldiers are depicted mistreating Palestinians in the film.

“When an Israeli film wins an international prize, my heart fills with pride and my natural desire is to strengthen and encourage Israeli success,” she posted on her Facebook page on Saturday evening.

“This rule has one exception - the international embrace of self-flagellation and cooperation with the anti-Israeli narrative. The award received by Foxtrot in Venice… belongs to the exception.”

In another statement put out on Saturday night, Regev said the film would give “a tailwind to BDS (the anti-occupation boycott group) and haters of Israel all around the world” and called for an end to the state-funding of films which criticised the State of Israel.

Foxtrot, which gets its north American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Wednesday (Sept 13), is among a slew of high-profile Israeli productions funded by the Israel Film Fund currently hitting the festival circuit.

Other titles films backed by the fund at TIFF include Limor Shmila’s Montana and Matan Yair’s Scaffolding in the Discovery section and Contemporary World Cinema title Loving by Savi Gabizon. None of these films deal directly with the Middle East conflict.

Flying in the face of Regev’s comments, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who was in Los Angeles over the weekend, said at a meeting with writers and directors that he would be watching the film.

“In general,” he said. “I am a great fan of Israeli cinema, which is a symbol of freedom of expression and the strength of Israeli democracy.

“I did not watch the film, but I am going to watch it. …

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