A film about the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as seen through the eyes of his murderer won Israel’s Ophir Award for Best Picture and will be the country’s contender for an Oscar.
Incitement won Israel’s top prize on Sunday night at the Ophir Awards of the Israel Academy of Film and Television at the Cultural Centre in Kfar Saba.
The Best Picture winner at the Ophirs becomes Israel’s submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language film, which has been renamed for 2020 to Best International Feature Film.
The film tells the story of Rabin’s assassination in 1995 through the eyes of his assassin, Yigal Amir.
Culture Minister Miri Regev slammed the award. “Yigal Amir is a murderer who shot a bullet into the heart of the nation and did the worst thing possible, kill a prime minister in a democracy,” Regev said in a statement. “There is no place for a film that tries to understand him or his motivations, or to hint or accuse others of being behind his heinous act.”
She also criticized the film for its portrayal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of the incitement campaign. Netanyahu, who was head of the opposition at the time of the murder, has been accused of using hateful rhetoric and preventing such rhetoric against Rabin in the run-up to the assassination.
The film was released in Israel on Thursday, though it was screened at recent international film festivals.
The shortlist for the Oscar will be released in December, with nominations announced on January 13.