Two Israeli films won the top audience awards Saturday at Berlin’s International Film Festival, as the director of one of them blasted Israel’s “fascist” government and urged Germany to stop supporting the Jewish state militarily.
The Berlinale’s Panorama Audience Award for best fiction film went to Udi Aloni’s “Junction 48,” a film about a budding Arab rapper making his way in the crime ridden mixed city of Lod.
Before winning the prize, Aloni, the son of the late Meretz party leader Shulamit Aloni, was caught on camera criticizing the current Israeli government which he called “fascist,” according to a report on Channel 10 news. Ahead of a screening of his film in recent days, he urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel to stop providing Israel with submarines to advance its policies.
Aloni’s film received financial support from Israel’s Culture Ministry, according to the report.
He later told Channel 10 his comments “were directed against the Israeli government and not against the country, which I love. In contrast to the prime minister who spreads hatred, my movie spreads love and co-existence.”
Culture Minister Miri Regev said in response to the report that Israel should not fund films that slander it.
Regev said Aloni’s statements were “clear proof that artists who subvert the state, defame it and hurt its legitimacy should not be funded by the tax payer. A sane country should not assist slanderers and denouncers who malign it, immediately after drinking from its coffers.”
Meanwhile the Panorama award for best documentary in Berlin was won by “Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?” by Tomer and Barak Heymann, a film about a gay Israeli living in London who reconnects with his estranged kibbutz family after being diagnosed with HIV.
Tomer Heymann previously won the same award for his 2006 film “Paper Dolls.” Channel 2 news reported that he was the only person in the festival’s history to have won the award twice.
Director Udi Aloni and actors Tamer Nafar and Samar Qupty discuss “Junction 48”:
“Junction 48” actress Samar Qupty told Reuters she saw the hip-hop film as revolutionary.
“We are representing ourselves by the new generation without trying to prove anything to anyone, with our ‘goods’ and ‘bads’,” she said. “We are trying to present what is the real new generation trying to do without making the reality looking any better or any worse.”