Thursday, March 05, 2009

mini-film on gaza by animator of 'waltz with bashir'

The 90-second Gaza movie Closed Zone , made by the animation director of Waltz with Bashir Yoni Goodman, has been causing uproar in some circles. The Jerusalem Post cites Yariv Ben-Eliezer - director of media studies at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya - as saying the film is an "ugly disgusting piece of work".

Goodman is harshly criticial of Israel's Gaza offensive, telling the Post: "I'm very much against the Israeli blockade policy, and the last war was just a mistake. Anti-Semitism is up, Israel is seen as the aggressor around the world, and at the end of the day we didn't achieve anything."

The film was commissioned by Israeli human rights group Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement. It portrays the life of a boy in Gaza in order to highlight the suffering of civilians in Gaza. The boy tries to follow a blue bird, a symbol of freedom. He is hemmed in by gigantic hands. Ben-Eliezer told the Jerusalem Post: "You have to be equally sensitive to the kids in the South of Israel being bombed every day by Hamas. He should get an award from [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad for this work."

Goodman told the newspaper: "I hate Hamas. They're out to kill us. Of course they are my enemies. I feel sorry for the Palestinian citizens who want to live their lives." He added that there should be a solution that doesn't involve violence or the sacrifice of innocent people.
"People don't like to hear that Palestinians are real people. People prefer to think of them as evil, that they're all Hamas," Goodman said. "It's easier to say, 'let's punish them, let's kill them all.' It's a lot harder to regard them as ordinary people who want peace."

A second video posted on YouTube tells of the making and aims of the mini-film.

Waltz with Bashir itself has been coming in for some criticism recently. Gideon Levy wrote in Haaretz: "It deserves an Oscar for the illustrations and animation - but a badge of shame for its message. It was not by accident that when he won the Golden Globe, Folman didn't even mention the war in Gaza, which was raging as he accepted the prestigious award. The images coming out of Gaza that day looked remarkably like those in Folman's film. But he was silent."
MERIP (Middle East Report)
has a probing review of the film by Ursula Lindsey. The Angry Arab News Service blog of As'ad Abu Khalil published a long (and angry) critique of the film.

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