Ron Jacobsohn Talks to Israeli and Palestinians Film Critics about Omar Ron Jacobsohn Talks to Israeli and Palestinians Film Critics about Omar
Some might say its serendipitous others might believe its art imitating life but fact is that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority choose as... Ron Jacobsohn Talks to Israeli and Palestinians Film Critics about Omar

Some might say its serendipitous others might believe its art imitating life but fact is that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority choose as their representative to the Oscars this year a movie based on the same story, about a relationship between a Palestinian collaborator and his Israeli operator at the intelligence services.
When the Academy published its short list of movies for the Foreign Language category they choose to advance the Palestinian movie, Omar, and not the Israeli one, Bethlehem. So just before the Oscar nominations are announced this week, we wanted to find out from movie critics from the Israeli and Palestinian side, how come the Palestinian movie resonated better with the Academy members.

Ron Jacobsohn, JN1 Correspondent:
Some might say its serendipitous others might believe its art imitating life but fact is that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority choose as their representative to the Oscars this year a movie based on the same story, about a relationship between a Palestinian collaborator and his Israeli operator at the intelligence services.
When the Academy published its short list of movies for the Foreign Language category they choose to advance the Palestinian movie, Omar, and not the Israeli one, Bethlehem. So just before the Oscar nominations are announced this week, we wanted to find out from movie critics from the Israeli and Palestinian side, how come the Palestinian movie resonated better with the Academy members.

Alon Garbus who manages the Tel-Aviv Cinematheque says it was very natural for him to screen Omar in his facilities.

Alon Garbuz, Manager, Tel-Aviv Cinematheque:
It’s not the first time we are showing a Hany Abu Assad film, we had some years ago “Paradise now” that was a commercial success and now Omar is the same story like Bethlehem, so Bethlehem was in our neighbor “Cinema Lev” and we took Omar so we will not become rich from these films but I feel good with this film.

The Culture & Lifestyle editor at The Times of Israel, Jessica Steinberg, explains that— how the story is told is what makes each of the two movies unique.

Jessica Steinberg, Culture & Lifestyle Editor, The Times of Israel:
Bethlehem is a story about a Shin-Bet fisker so to speak and his collaborator who he has brought up from let’s say youth, and the relationship between them and feels very close to him and feels very emotions about him which is ultimately really take shim down a certain path in the movie. And the story, which unfolds, which of course is in some ways more Israeli, because the main character is a Jewish Israeli, whereas the other characters are Palestinians. From the same perspective, Omar is essentially 100% Palestinian, but of course there are some Israeli Jewish characters.

Tamer Nafar who writes about movies for Qadita – The Arab Culture Website believes that it is easy to play the game of the Israeli movie versus the Palestinian one but the end of the day its about the art of filmmaking and the academy seems to like how Hany Abu Assad makes movies.

Tamer Nafar, Qadita – The Arab Culture Website:
In a way of course I believe that Hollywood is you know, like it’s a politics game but I think they picked Hany for the second time because I think he is bringing layers, that is the most.. It’s not all black and white, and I think Hany is part of the… you know, there aren’t many artists who are blessed with the talent to find the balance in between being an artist and being a guy with a message and at the same time entertain.

Garbuz admits he was quite surprised when he saw two movies where made on the same article published in Ha’aretz Newspaper a few years ago.

Alon Garbuz, Manager, Tel-Aviv Cinematheque:
Those movies are based on the same story that was published some years ago in the Ha’aretz Newspaper and they were impressed in a different way, if Bethlehem is a little bit balanced so Omar is telling you the truth in your face.

Steinberg tries to explain why the academy decided to favor Omar over Bethlehem.

Jessica Steinberg, Culture & Lifestyle Editor, The Times of Israel:
I would say that Omar, a love story can sort of grab’s you and they are very beautiful young people in Omar and that is something that really moves that movie forward a lot.

Tamer Nafar, Qadita – The Arab Culture Website:
And for me to walk out of this movie and feel sympathy with that “collaborator”, I think that’s genius, that’s genius when you give, when you put light on and you break stereotypes. I think it’s very important, very necessary. I believe that the gate is open for us to believe, not just seeking for things, but just doing it and I truly appreciate Hany for what he did.

So what are the chances of a movie from Israel or The Palestinian Authority winning an Oscar?

Jessica Steinberg, Culture & Lifestyle Editor, The Times of Israel
I would say that generally, the films that came out of these region do not end up winning the Oscar, it could happen one day, I don’t think.. I mean, you could say that, yes eventually it will be a film about the situation that will win that Foreign Film Oscar or you can say it’ll be something completely different, light, easy, about people and not about necessarily about politics. So, my guess is as good as anyone’s.

Ron Jacobsohn, JN1 Correspondent:
Israel has been nominated ten-times for the Foreign Language Oscar over the years but has never won. If chosen, this would be the Palestinian Authorities second Oscar nomination, with both movies directed by Nazareth born, Hany Abu Assad, who has lived in the Netherlands since the early nineteen-eighties.
For JN1 I am Ron Jacobsohn in Tel-Aviv.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: