IFFI: Where Israel and Iran shake hands!


By Hindustan Times

The jury at the ongoing 42nd International Film Festival of India has an unusual touch to it. Two eminent members come from two countries that see each other as enemies.

Iran’s Tahmineh Milani is a renowned director from Iran, whose movies on women and the 1979 Iranian Revolution have created a storm. Her Two Women and The 5th Reaction have been particularly applauded for their courage of conviction.

On the other hand, Israel’s charismatic and popular helmer, Dan Wolman, has been celebrated for works such as Tied Hands and Ben’s Biography.

Now on the jury, headed by yet another famous auteur-director, India’s Adoor Gopalakrishnan, both Wolman and Milani said they were happy to be outside the sphere of hostilities imposed by their political boundaries. Affirming that they were not politicians, but filmmakers, they said they had absolutely no problem in working together.

Wolman was very happy to be in India, a country he has visited and revisited many times. “It is nice to be away from constant attacks and the sense of fear that we face in Israel”, he quipped.

Milani felt that within the confines of the auditorium that showed movies from all corners of the earth (there is one from Iran, The Separation, and one in Hebrew, Restoration), geographical barriers, language issues and political differences made little meaning. Such lines just disappeared as the images appeared on the screen.

Both Wolman and Milani were certain that the world must rid itself of anger, resentment and antagonism. Only then can our children lead a more peaceful life, and hope for personal and professional fulfilment and artistic freedom.

The other members of the jury are Laurence Kardish from New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and Lee Yong Kwan, director of the Busan International Film Festival.