Meet filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who called 'The Kashmir Files' vulgar
Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid triggered a countrywide debate in India after calling Vivek Agnihotri's film The Kashmir Files ''vulgar propaganda" and ''inappropriate for an artistic competitive section" at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa. On social media, Lapid received both praise and criticism for his speech. Here's more about the filmmaker who was also heading the jury at IFFI.
Why does this story matter?
- Released in March, The Kashmir Files became a popular film in India and many other countries.
- The film, based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley, also earned huge revenue.
- On the other hand, with its popularity, the film received criticism too for being biased and creating a communal divide in the country.
Comments that triggered controversy
Speaking at the IFFI's closing ceremony, Lapid said he was "shocked" and "disturbed" at the film's selection for the competition. "There were 15 films in the international competition. Fourteen had cinematic qualities and evoked vivid discussions. But, The Kashmir Files felt to us like a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival," he said.
Watch: Video of the Lapid's speech at IFFI
#Breaking: #IFFI Jury says they were “disturbed and shocked” to see #NationalFilmAward winning #KashmirFiles, “a propoganda, vulgar movie” in the competition section of a prestigious festival— organised by the Govt of India.— Navdeep Yadav (@navdeepyadav321) November 28, 2022
🎤 Over to @vivekagnihotri sir…
Native of Tel Aviv, Lapid served in top international festivals
Lapid was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, to Jewish parents. He gets international recognition for his films Synonymes (2019), The Kindergarten Teacher (2014), and Policeman (2011). He served on the Golden Leopard jury at the 2015 Locarno Film Festival, the International Critics' Week jury at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, and the 71st Berlin International Film Festival's Official Competition jury.
Known to criticize Israeli's politics
Lapid was awarded France's prestigious Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres award for his works. Although he is known to highlight Israeli identity and anti-Semitism through his works, he simultaneously criticizes Israel's policies in Palestine. Notably, he was one of the 250 filmmakers who agreed to sign an open letter in protest against the government-supported Shomron (Samaria or West Bank) Film Fund's inauguration.
A little about Shomron Film Fund
According to the filmmakers, the Fund's only purpose was to invite Israeli filmmakers to actively engage in "whitewashing the occupation" in exchange for financial assistance and rewards. They claimed that the declared mandate of the film fund was to "distribute funds to Jewish settlers residing in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and to works by Israeli citizens produced in the West Bank."
Love-hate relationship with homeland
Lapid, 47, is known for his love-hate connection with his birthplace, which was on display in his Cannes Film Festival competition entry, Ahed's Knee, last year. In an interview on his film 'Synonymes,' he even said, "The Israeli collective soul is a sick soul." "I think this Israeli sickness or nature is characterized by young Israeli men not raising any questions," he had said.