Re: Toronto Film Fest

From: Flick Harrison (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Aug 29 2009 - 11:17:28 PDT

With due respect to everyone, this *is* a film-related discussion.

If the extra-textual context of a Brand Israel campaign re: its tour-
de-force cinematic iteration aren't a propos for frameworks, what the
hell *is*?

Wavelengths has been mentioned already on this thread, TIFF is the
biggest fest in North America, I mean come on - where do we draw the

It would be nice, however, to try to stick to a discussion of this
program and its implications, rather than an all-out shout-fest.

Small-"L"-liberal Canada is a very interesting nexus of Middle East
politics because our pro-multicultural society has a very hard time,
on principle, branding every muslim a terrorist, an attitude which
crashes headlong into our 100% USA-driven media and security response
to September 11 which attempted to do just that. On both sides of the
spectrum, politicians must tiptoe through the tulips of bowing to
Israeli policy for pragmatic reasons (big money around here, as across
the west, is conservative and pro-USA, therefore pro-Israel), while
paying homage to inter-cultural respect and diversity (the electorate
instinctively balks at racial profiling and mass civilian casualties).

That Israel is charging into liberal Canada (TIFF) with a hearts-and-
minds campaign is very interesting. I'm not sure that spreading
awareness of Israeli culture and lifestyle will succeed, if their
intention is to blank out awareness of Palestinian culture and
lifestyle, or sway Canadians to a lopsided partisanship towards
Israelis and away from Palestinians. Spreading cultural understanding
for one group doesn't necessarily translate into losing sympathy for
another group, especially in a TIFF that has plenty of counterpoint as
well, like *Jaffa*:

For instance, a film co-directed by an Israeli and a Palestianian.

And *The Bubble*

is about a gay romance between a Muslim and a Jew, while

concerns another jew-muslim love affair that struggles against
prevailing prejudices.

If Israel's Ministry of Culture is using some subtle strategy here,
perhaps it's actually TOO subtle.


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