Sunday, June 20, 2010

Israeli film banned by French movie chain

A film made by an Israeli immigrant from Russia, called "5 Hours from Paris," ("5 heures de Paris")  has been taken off the schedule of the Utopia theatre chain in France.

The chain's director, Anne-Marie Faucon, made the move as a protest against the Israeli raid on the terrorist IHH Mavi Marmara ship.

The film was replaced with a movie about Rachel Corrie.

Pretty much every French website I have seen has been critical of the move. The movie is a light romantic comedy with no political overtones and most French observers feel that Utopia is engaging in censorship. The French Minister of Culture wrote a letter to Utopia expressing his incomprehension and disapproval of the move.

Even Utopia seemed to backtrack a little, as Faucon originally said that she would be happy to screen the film "when the siege of Gaza is over" but the co-founder of Utopia later said that the film will be screened at the chain in July.

The director of the film, Leon Prudovsky, is getting a lot of free publicity out of this.

UPDATE: The New York Times wrote about this the day after I posted. (h/t Samson)