Israeli Movie Shortlisted For Foreign Language Film Oscar

Samuel Maoz is awarded the jury's special Silver Lion prize for 'Foxtrot' during the award ceremony at the 74th Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
AP/Domenico Stinellis

TEL AVIV — An Israeli film that stirred controversy in the Jewish state is shortlisted for an Oscar, Israeli media outlets reported on Friday.

Foxtrot, by director Shmuel Maoz (pictured), tells the story of a family losing a son, a soldier in the IDF.

The film has already won accolades in Israel and abroad. It received a Silver Lion award at this year’s Venice Film Festival and previously won eight Ophir Awards, Israel’s national film prize. The film’s Ophir wins catapulted it to consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The film contains one scene taking at a place at a checkpoint that is a source of the controversy surrounding the picture. The scene, displaying Israeli soldiers behaving violently towards Palestinians, caused Israel’s Minister of Culture Miri Regev to announce that the picture was anti-Israeli and called for a boycott of the movie.

Most Israeli critics praised the movie, though some agreed with Regev’s assessment that the film harms Israel’s international reputation.

Foxtrot will be competing with The Insult, a Lebanese movie about that country’s civil war. According to the Times of Israel, the French-Lebanese director of the movie, Ziad Doueiri, was briefly held this year when he came to Lebanon to promote the film. The reason for his arrest was that he had visited Israel in 2013 when he filmed his movie The Attack in the country. He was cleared by a military tribunal.

The last Israeli nominee to the Oscars was Joseph Cedar’s 2011 film Footnote, which lost to the Iranian film A Separation.

Maoz’s previous film Lebanon, about Israeli soldiers posted in the enemy country, was highly praised and won several awards. The film takes place almost entirely inside an IDF army tank.