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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Wednesday, January 22, 2003  

Palestinian Film Festival this weekend!

This weekend in NYC, Columbia University is hosting a 3 day event showcasing cinema by Palestinian filmmakers. The program includes over 34 films, several guest filmmakers, notable speakers (Edward Said, others), an opening night celebration, and other special events. Info at: http://www.dreamsofanation.org

The Film "Divine Intervention" and some Oscars controversy:
One of the films playing, "Divine Intervention", received the Grand Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002. Check out the story, view a trailer of the movie, and see where it's playing around the country on the Avatar Films website. And as of last month, Divine Intervention was refused as Palestine's entry to the Oscars, check out the article below:

The Academy Goes to War with the Bush Administration in the Oscar Race

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to refuse the Palestinian entry, "Divine Intervention", for the nomination of Best Foreign Film, while accepting submissions from countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Chad. This decision has been expedited under the false pretext that the Academy doesn't recognize Palestine as a nation. It would be interesting to read the definition of "nation" as seen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

What the Academy knows and therefore reminds everybody, is that the government of each nation is allowed to submit one film to represent its country. This more or less defines the right for a film to be presented. Therefore, as long as the Palestinian government had agreed to submit "Divine Intervention" by Elie Souleimane, the Academy had no right to refuse to include it in the selection, unless the Academy, sitting atop its unchallenged power and authority doesn't recognize the Palestinian government. That would be unfortunate.

Even the Bush administration, although they would prefer that such government doesn't exist, was able to communicate and negotiate with Palestine, thus recognizing its existence. If Palestine doesn't exist in the movie world, why then was the same "Divine Intervention" selected as a Palestinian entry at the Cannes Film Festival this year? I'm sure that by now, Palestinian filmmakers - and there are a few, very talented people - wonder what nationality they are. Israeli? How ironic!

As we very well know, the Israeli government would never choose to send to Hollywood, a Palestinian film to represent its country. So for the Academy, it's probable that Palestinian films simply cannot be submitted, denying in a way, their right to exist. Sounds familiar? Isn't it in the Constitution of the Academy, or at least in its principles, to promote art without any distinction of race, religion or politics? Well, sometimes, the Bush administration would use the phrase "in times of war."

Now that art has to be put to the service of politics, it seems to me that the Academy and the entire Hollywood film industry has lost yet another piece of its credibility.

By Phil Ed for Au-Cinema.com

posted by Anjali Taneja | 1/22/2003 08:26:00 AM | |


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