July 10, 2021ACTUALITIES, BDS Campaign

The actors of the film ‘Let There Be Morning’, directed by Israeli Eran Kolirin, are boycotting the Cannes Film Festival, despite the fact that the film will premiere there this Saturday.

Palestinian actors boycott the Cannes Film Festival, as their film is presented as Israeli

The actors, who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, explained in a collective statement on social networks that this is a “political act of absence” to protest against the cultural erasure of Palestinians by Israel. “We cannot ignore the contradiction of the film’s entry at Cannes under the label of an “Israeli film” while Israel continues to carry out its decades-long colonial campaign of ethnic cleansing, expulsion and apartheid against us, the Palestinian people,” the casting team said in a statement. The production team further explained the prejudicial erasure that is done to Palestinians when their work is categorized as “Israeli” in the media.

“Every time the film industry assumes that we and our work fall under the ethno-national label of ‘Israeli,’ it further perpetuates an unacceptable reality that imposes on us, Palestinian artists with Israeli citizenship, an identity imposed by Zionist colonization to maintain the continued oppression of Palestinians within historic Palestine; the denial of our language, history and identity,” the actors wrote.

“[…] Waiting for us to stand idly by and accept the label of a state that has sanctioned this latest wave of violence and dispossession not only normalizes apartheid, but also continues to enable the denial and whitewashing of the violence and crimes inflicted on Palestinians.”

‘Let There Be Morning’ is a film based on a book by Palestinian journalist, screenwriter and author Sayed Kashua. It tells the story of Sami, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who returns to his hometown with his family to attend his brother’s wedding. After the wedding, Sami, his wife and son encounter Israeli soldiers who force them to stay in the village, and Sami is soon imprisoned and besieged in his hometown, not knowing why or for how long.

“The film, which is the result of our collective creative work, is about “The State of Siege,” a phrase coined by the revered Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwich,” the release said. “The state of siege manifests itself in walls, checkpoints, physical and psychological barriers, and the subordination and violation of the Palestinians’ identity, culture, movement and basic human rights.

The film stars concluded their explanation by calling on international artistic and cultural institutions to amplify the voice of Palestinian artists and creators, as they “resist all forms of Israeli colonial oppression against the right of the Palestinian people to live, be and create. The statement was signed by actors Alex Bakri, Juna Suleiman, Ehab Elias Salameh, Salim Daw, Izabel Ramadan, Samer Bisharat, Yara Jarrar, Marwan Hamdan, Duraid Liddawi, Areen Saba, Adib Safadi and Sobhi Hosary.

Director Kolirin told Haaretz, “I understand [the reason for their action] and I support each of their decisions … It hurts me that they are not here to celebrate their amazing work, but I respect their position.”

Source: Middle East Monitor