Iranian movie to be screened in Israel, drawing ire

Iranian movie to be screened in Israel, drawing ire

Some frown as Oscar nominated-film arrives amid tensions between countries

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

The Iranian movie “Separation” will debut in Israel on Thursday and will be publicly screened at theaters as of next week, Army Radio reported Thursday morning. Screening of the movie was made possible after it was brought in through a third party in Europe.

The movie is considered the biggest challenger to the Israeli film “Footnote” for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The prize will be announced later this month.

MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) told Army Radio that it was inconsiderate to show the movie in Israel while tensions with Tehran were so high. He stopped short of calling for a formal boycott as Israelis were capable of using their own judgment, he said.

From the other side of the political map, MK Nitzan Horowitz (New Movement-Meretz) said culture and politics should not be mixed. The movie’s Persian dialogue was not a reason to refrain from seeing it, he said.

The Iranian film, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, deals with a husband and wife’s strained relationship and the effect of divorce on a broader family circle.

The Israeli nominee, Joseph Cedar’s film Footnote, tells the story of  a father and son, both researchers at the Talmud department of the Hebrew University, and the disruption a prestigious award brings into their lives.

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