Cairo Film Festival Called Off After Cancelling Israeli Film
The French foreign minister axes the festival over dispute.
Israeli director Keren Ben-Rafael’s film Almost Normal caused a string of debates that led the French foreign minister to cancel a festival in Cairo, Egypt. Rencontres de l'Image was an event organized by the French Embassy’s cultural center. It was supposed to run in Cairo from April 8-15. Almost Normal was originally part of the lineup, but an Egyptian panel of judges decided to remove it after finding out Ben-Rafael’s background.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner fought the case and ordered the panel to reinstate the film. Ynet reported that Kouchner ruled, “If this movie was found to be valuable, it must not be boycotted only because of the director's origin.”
However, panel members vowed to quit if Kouchner overturned the decision, stating that they are against “any cultural cooperation with Israel.” The French foreign minister then decided to cancel the event. He said, “As this film appears to be causing trouble, there is no point in holding the festival in Cairo.”