Posted on 8/27/2013 by Vendetta Admin

Inch’Allah, the newest feature from the team behind Australian/NZ box office hits Incendies and Monsieur Lazhar, has created controversy after its first Australian screenings as part of the Israeli Film Festival.

Sivan Levy, who plays Ava in the movie, was a guest of the festival, and a heated Q&A took place between her and the audience after one of the screenings in Melbourne. This led to complaints and the eventual cancellation of the future scheduled screenings as part of the festival.

Tom Ryan, former Sunday Age film critic, moderated the Q & A. He said he had been impressed by the audience's "robust responses", "the diverse views on offer", and the "sharp intelligence" of Levy, but added he was "truly dismayed" to learn the film had been pulled. "I had been mistaken about what I'd perceived to be a genuinely democratic openness to ideas," he said.

Film critic and broadcaster Peter Krausz labelled the decision to withdraw the film from the program "appalling", claiming it "makes us a laughing stock around the world".

Director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette had previously made documentaries, and set out to make this film in the same fashion. Having lived on both sides of the conflict, she says that her viewpoint isn’t political and argues that it can’t be when she has seen the real people living with this every day of their lives. She says “actually, Inch’Allah isn’t a film about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but about a woman from Quebec in Palestine, about a doctor who is meeting war head on”. She says both the Israelis and Palestinians who she discussed the story and shared the script with understood this and found it “daring, original and different”.

Several further screenings of Inch’Allah, which won the Fipresci prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, have been set up throughout November with various groups and interested parties throughout Australia. The film will also receive a release across select NZ cinemas from 31 October.

With thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald and the Christchurch Press for providing quotes.