Video Producer/Editor: Shohini Bose
At the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa on 28 November, Israeli filmmaker and screenwriter Nadav Lapid said that the jurors were ‘disturbed and shocked’ by Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Kashmir Files. He went on to say that the film was ‘inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival’.
The filmmaker has since then become embroiled in controversy over his remarks. But who is Nadav Lapid?
Nadav Lapid’s remarks at IFFI Goa have led to both support and critique with some lauding him for his courage and others opposing his views.
Israeli Ambassador to India Naor Gilon has alleged that the latter has “abused in the worst way the Indian invitation to chair the panel of judges at IFFI, as well as the trust, respect and warm hospitality they have bestowed on you”.
Who Is Filmmaker Nadav Lapid?
Nadav, a recipient of the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, was born in 1975 to Jewish parents. His parents Haim Lapif and Era Lapid were both part of the film industry as a writer and film editor respectively. Nadav Lapid studied philosophy at Tel Aviv University and also pursued a degree at the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School.
His time studying philosophy is reflected in his films and often successfully juxtaposes absurdity with reality. His debut film Policeman won the Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Locarno International Film Festival. The head of the Festival, Olivier Père had called his film “the best political film in ages”.
His 2014 film Kindergarten Teacher follows the story of a teacher and a young child who she considers to be a prodigy, Through the dialogues and the kid’s poetry, Lapid deals with several themes.
Nadav’s film Ahed’s Knee was selected for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2021 and shared the Jury Prize with Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s film Memoria.
A recurring theme of the personal and political also finds place in Ahed’s Knee, which follows a filmmaker fighting the Establishment (to be specific, an officer for the Ministry of Culture) for freedom and his right of expression.
Nadav Lapid’s work explores both his Israeli identity and anti-semitism in today’s world while also criticising Israel’s politics. He was one of the 250 filmmakers who signed an open letter to protect the launch of the Shomron (Samaria or West Bank) Film Fund.