The Attack, a film made by Lebanese-American director Ziad Doueiri and filmed partly in Israel, has reportedly been banned in 22 Arab countries and its maker sharply criticized by the Hezbollah government in Lebanon for setting foot in the “Zionist entity” and for being a traitor to the Islamist cause.
Doueiri, who previously had worked as a camera operator for American director Quentin Tarantino, wanted to tell the story of a Palestinian doctor in Tel Aviv investigating the death of his wife in a suicide bombing that leaves 19 dead; Israeli police tell him his wife was the perpetrator, but he is convinced of her innocence and enters the Palestinian territories in search of the truth.
The film was adapted from a bestselling novel by Yasmina Khadra and was an official selection at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. It has also won praise at several other festivals around the world.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Doueiri’s Egyptian backers criticized the film for depicting the suffering of the Jews and not the Palestinians; some of the film’s investors have released him from repaying their stakes in the film so as not to be connected with it. Doueiri’s wife, screenwriter Joelle Touma, had been planning an unofficial, non-commercial screening of the film in Lebanon until the government threatened to arrest her and anyone who might attend. The Attack has also been banned by the Cairo-based Arab League.
“The Syrian government is doing a lot more atrocities than Israel did in 50 years, and is anybody complaining or boycotting Syrian film?” Doueiri said to The Hollywood Reporter. “Of course not. Israel remains the big taboo, the big evil in the Middle East, which is ridiculous.”
The Attack opened last week in Toronto at the Cineplex Odeon Varsity and VIP Cinemas.
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Arts in Brief
• Pianist Fern Lindzon performs at the Pantages Martini Bar, 200 Victoria St., on Aug. 16 & 17, 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.
• Osnat Lipa delivers an illustrated presentation on Israeli art, focusing on some leading artists and the development of artistic culture in Israel from the late 19th century. Active Seniors, Boomers & Retirees, $4 includes refreshments. Miles Nadal JCC, Thursday Aug. 15, 1:30 p.m. (program at 2 p.m.) 416-924-6211, ext. 155.
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At the Galleries
• Israel’s Efrat Shvily is one of 14 photographers on the long list of the Aimia-AGO Photography Prize, worth $50,000, to be awarded for outstanding work that has “made an extraordinary impact in their respective communities,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). The artists receive a fully-funded six-week residency in Canada and their work will be exhibited at the AGO. The winner will be selected by public vote at the exhibition and online; the winner is to be announced Nov. 7, 2013.
• Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World is making its North American debut at the Royal Ontario Museum. The exhibition, which originated with the British Museum, explores 3,000 years of an ancient civilization and features more than 170 priceless objects. Mesopotamia was the “land between the rivers” and encompasses present-day Iraq, north-eastern Syria and south-eastern Turkey. Significant developments in this period include the invention of writing, long-distance communication, trade networks and the first empires. At the ROM until Jan. 5, 2014.