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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2006, 10:22 GMT
Oscars deny Israeli film pressure
Paradise Now
The film focuses on Palestinian suicide bombers
Oscars organisers have said they have yet to decide whether to recategorise a best foreign film nominee from the Palestinian territories.

Israel is not pressuring them over whether to say Paradise Now was from "Palestine" or "the Palestinian Authority", they said.

The academy has also not been contacted by Israel or any US Jewish group over the issue, said spokesman John Pavlik.

But he said some individuals had raised the matter with the academy.

(L to R) Ali Suleiman, Hanny Abu-Assad, Lubna Azabal and Qais Nashef
Director Hany Abu-Assad (C) used the talents of little-known Palestinian actors

Paradise Now is about two friends from Nablus in the West Bank who volunteer to bomb Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv.

An Israeli diplomat in Jerusalem told the Reuters news agency that his country and Jewish groups in the US were lobbying the academy to not describe the film as coming from "Palestine".

Some Israeli officials and Jewish groups have said that it does not formally exist as a state, so "the Palestinian Authority" would be a more accurate title.

Paradise Now was categorised as being from "the Palestinian Authority" when the Oscar nominations were announced on 31 January, but is listed as from "Palestine" on the academy's official website.

Israeli patriotism

A producer of the Golden Globe-winning film recently said that major Israeli cinema chains were shunning it as it focuses on Palestinian suicide bombers.

Shirit Gal, a publicist who works with Israel's major distributors, said they felt the film "will not bring profits".

Ms Gal said they based their conclusions on a "cost-benefit analysis" prompted by "the subject matter of Paradise Now".

"Israelis tend to get very patriotic when it comes to politicised entertainment events like this," she added.

Harel said the major distributors and cinemas were being deterred by criticisms of the film voiced in Israel.

Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post recently said that the film "humanises" suicide bombers, making "heroes of villains".

However Screen International's Israel correspondent Dan Fainaru told the BBC News website in January that the film, which was released in November at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, "did quite well".

"On a purely commercial basis, Paradise Now is not the kind of picture that would draw large Israeli audiences," he said.


SEE ALSO:
Israeli cinemas 'shun' bomb film
21 Jan 06 |  Entertainment
Suicide bomb film scoops US prize
17 Jan 06 |  Middle East
The making of Paradise Now
18 Nov 05 |  Middle East
Film explores suicide bomb motives
11 Nov 05 |  Middle East
Suicide bomb film opens festival
12 Dec 05 |  Entertainment
Suicide bombing movie is pulled
16 Jul 05 |  Cambridgeshire


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