Israeli film removed from Iraqi film festival

The Duhok International Film Festival in Iraqi Kurdistan announced that it was forced to remove an award-winning Israeli film against its wishes.

By Ilanit Chernick, TPS

Israeli film The Dive has been removed from the running at an Iraqi film festival due to political pressure.

The film, directed by Yona Rozenkier, was screened twice over the weekend at the Duhok International Film Festival in Iraqi Kurdistan.

However, on Monday, the festival website announced that it had to remove the movie from the international contest, adding that this move was against its wishes and that they “deeply apologize” for the incident.

Speaking to Army Radio on Monday morning, Rozenkier said organizers had come under political pressure from the government in Baghdad to remove the film from from the competition.

At the Jerusalem Film Festival earlier this year, The Dive won awards for Best Israeli Feature, Best Israeli Debut Feature, Best Cinematography and Best Actor.

According to the Jerusalem Film Festival’s description, the film tells the story of three brothers who reunite for one weekend to bury their father in their native kibbutz on the border with Lebanon, before going to war. As war rages all around them, the two older brothers begin the same violent ritual training that was initiated by their late father in order to prepare the youngest for his first war.

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The deserted kibbutz and its surroundings become the brothers’ surreal playground, and as the end of the weekend approaches, the training becomes increasingly violent until finally, after a tragic turn, it spins out of control.

Rozenkier said that although the movie was ejected from the Iranian festival, the important thing is that it had been shown in Iraq, which is incredible in and of itself.

He added that politicians should not be involved with art.

The Dive was also screened at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this year.