The headline of a May 25, 2009, BBC News report about the Cannes Film Festival is: Violence dominates at Cannes. The article makes note that the award-winning films this year graphically portray rape, torture and gore. In fact Charlotte Gainsbourg won the prize for best actress for her role in Danish director Lars von Trier’s Antichrist. In that film, there is an explicit portrayal of genital mutilation. It is reported that the shocking scene will be excised prior to the movie’s commercial release.
One movie snubbed by the jurors is Looking for Eric by British director Ken Loach. Mr. Loach is a pro-Palestinian activist who recently called for the boycott of the Edinburgh Film Festival in Scotland because of a grant from the Israeli Embassy. The festival organizers returned the money to the Israelis. The grant money was to be used to defray the travel expenses of Israeli film director Tali Shalom-Ezer.
Mr. Loach has defended anti-Semitism as “not surprising” and “understandable.” Ms. Shalom-Ezer accused Mr. Loach of “racism.”
Generalizing all citizens of Israel as warmongers and racists is racism and outrageous, and as members of the peace camp we are personally hurt by it,” said Ms. Shalom-Ezer.
Ron Prosor, the Israeli Ambassador to Britain, said, “Rather than encourage an open dialogue through cultural exchange, the festival is promoting bigotry by denying the British public the opportunity to hear all points of view.”
Edinburgh Film Festival Snubs Israeli Grant [Art2u Art.Right.; May 22, 2009]
UK festival rejects Israeli funding after pro-Palestinian pressure [Jerusalem Post; May 21, 2009]