Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid opened up about his recent remarks at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), where he slammed the controversial film The Kashmir Files, calling it a ‘vulgar’ piece of propaganda. He said in a new interview that there are people who talk about his own movies with ‘the same gravity’ that he spoke about The Kashmir Files at the IFFI closing ceremony.
Describing the film as a ‘series of basic and cheap cinematic manipulation’, the Golden Bear-winning Lapid told India Today that he doesn’t hold ‘a key’ with which he can ‘unlock’ the meaning of what is propaganda and what isn’t, and that he was commenting only on ‘the cinematic text’. Doubling down on his earlier comments about the dislike for The Kashmir Files being unanimous among the festival jury, he said, “My opinions were shared by all the jury members. We were sitting, all of us, in the screening room, having the same feeling after the screening. Everyone was aware of what was going to be said.” Lapid said that he has emails and WhatsApp messages to prove his claims, but that he understands that people can change their stance under pressure. “I don’t want to judge them,” he said.
The 47-year-old director of Policeman and The Kindergarten Teacher, said that he will not share the evidence, because he doesn’t want to put further pressure on people who might already be feeling it. Lapid’s co-jury members at IFFI Goa this year were Spanish documentary filmmaker Javier Angulo Barturen, French film editor Pascale Chavance, American film producer Jinko Gotoh and Indian film director Sudipto Sen.
Unusual for a man in showbiz, Lapid mostly stays away from social media platforms and shuns the media glare. Based in France, Lapid is the son of writer Haim Lapid and film editor Era Lapid. He moved from his home country to Paris to study literature after receiving a degree in philosophy at Tel Aviv University and mandatory military service. He later studied cinema at the Sam Spiegel Film School in Jerusalem.
His films – four features and several shorts – are all in Hebrew, and all deeply political. About The Kashmir Files, he added, “I respect that many people think that this is a brilliant movie, and I respect that there are many people who think terrible things about my movies.” In criticising the movie, he said, he was merely performing his duty towards the film festival.
In an earlier interview with Ynet, the filmmaker spoke about the moments leading up to his speech. “I knew that this was an event that is terribly connected to the country, and everyone stands there and praises the government. It is not an easy position, because you are a guest, I am the president of the jury here, you are treated very nicely. And then you come and attack the festival. There was apprehension, and there was discomfort . I didn’t know what the dimensions would be, so I did it with some apprehension. Yes, I spent the day apprehensive. Let’s put it this way: I’m happy to be on my way to the airport now,” he said.