‘The Attack’: Lebanese director’s film about suicide bombing gets Israeli premiere
From The Washington Post
|Il regista Doueiri|
JERUSALEM — Banned by Lebanon, ignored by Arab countries and praised by U.S. critics, the suicide-bomber drama “The Attack” finally got a splashy sold-out Middle East premiere — in Jerusalem.
Many people settling into their seats at the recent Jerusalem Film Festival screening in the plush Cinematheque, which overlooks the Old City, had lived through the years when Palestinian suicide bombings roiled Israeli society, killing hundreds of people in crowded cafes, buses and markets.
Now, as the theater grew dark, Israelis were asked to examine their country’s security equation through the eyes of Amin Jafaari, an award-winning Israeli surgeon of Palestinian background who is shocked to discover that his beautiful wife is a suicide bomber, responsible for a blast at a Tel Aviv cafe that claims 17 victims, including 11 children.
At first, Jafaari is disbelieving and outraged. Eventually he heads to the Palestinian West Bank city of Nablus to find out how she could have done this.
There, he finds his wife celebrated as a martyr in posters and handbills, and by hostile extremists who order him out of a mosque. Even his relatives are proud of her. His wife’s young co-conspirator struggles to explain how Palestinian civilian casualties in an Israeli army attack could motivate him to orchestrate such a heinous act.
When the lights went up, Ali Suliman, the Nazareth-born Palestinian Israeli actor who played Jafaari, seemed relieved.
“People clapped. I think they love it,” he said. “It’s the first time they saw material that shows this conflict this way. They come out with a lot of question marks and exclamation points.”
Suliman would like to screen the film in the West Bank, where the crew crossed Israeli roadblocks to shoot on location in Nablus, a city that was the scene of clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinian fighters in 2002.
“I have a lot of curiosity about the audience in Palestine,” he said. “I’d like to see how they view it.”
Exactly who will be able to watch “The Attack” in the Middle East remains to be seen. Permission to show the film in Lebanon was revoked on the grounds that Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri violated a 1955 Lebanese Israel boycott law when he cast Israeli actors and filmed in Israel. None of the more than 20 Arab League members are showing the film in their countries, and the only deal for commercial distribution in the Middle East is in Israel, Doueiri said.
At the packed Jerusalem premiere, an organizer warned the audience to be respectful. But the discussion was so friendly that a moderator joked that one step toward solving the conflict might be to“make a film with the enemy.”
“This has been a very sensitive production,” Doueiri told the audience via Skype, from Paris. “I am from Beirut. The relationship between we Lebanese and Israel, I can’t say it is a friendly one. But I had a curiosity about the other perspective. I was curious about the emotional aspect. Our hostile background — I had to look beyond that.”
While making the film, Doueiri spent 11 months in Tel Aviv, because “I wanted to immerse myself,” he said. “I learned, you are just as fragile as we are, just as insecure as we are. It humanizes that element, of people who were viewed as an enemy. There is a sad reality on the ground. This is one aspect of Israel. I’ve seen another aspect that is terrific.”
Appena possibile pubblicherò la traduzione in italiano!