Monday, April 27, 2015

France: Leading director holds up a mirror to anti-Semitism in France

Ilan Halimi
The acclaimed French director Alexandre Arcady has made many films over his long career, but none, he said, was as difficult to bring to the screen as “24 Days: The True Story of the Ilan Halimi Affair.”

The feature, which opens nationally in the United States on Friday, April 24, dramatizes the experiences of the French-Jewish (of Moroccan extraction) Halimi family during the three and a half weeks in early 2006 when their 23-year-old son Ilan was abducted, tortured and murdered by a suburban Paris gang fueled by anti-Semitism (27 individuals were arrested and tried in the case). [...]

With hindsight, we know that Ilan Halimi’s murder by the Gang of Barbarians, as the assailants were known, turned out — as Ruth Halimi [Ilan's mother] feared — to be a watershed moment. It was the first of a string of violent and murderous attacks on Jews in France and other European countries over the past decade.

Nonetheless, Arcady struggled to raise the funds necessary to make the film.  “It was hard to produce because the French justice system and people did not want to see it as an anti-Semitic crime,” he said of the Halimi affair.  Indeed, the film shows the police botching their efforts to save the young cellphone salesman because they are slow to realize that the Barbarians are not common criminals who would likely refrain from killing their hostage. By contrast, Ruth Halimi said she knew that as soon as the ransom demands and threats started referring to Ilan as a “Jew” that they did not regard him as a human being and would kill him.

As was made clear in “Jews & Money,” the 2013 documentary film by Lewis Cohen about the kidnapping of Ilan Halimi, it took serious persuasion before the French court would recognize anti-Semitism as an aggravating circumstance in Halimi’s murder.  “People simply did not want to be associated with this case, and that put me in a difficult position,” said Arcady.

He said that French public television refused to provide support for the project, even though its funding guidelines call for the backing of films like “24 Days.  “They told me it would just be throwing fuel onto the flames if this film was made,” Arcady said. More.

The article generated a few comments well worth paying attention to:

- “I don’t want the Jews to desert France.” but I think maybe France has deserted the Jews.
- If the government was with him, they would have supported his film being produced. If the government was with him, it would have immediately realized it was an anti-semitic act. The perpetrators looked sought out a Jew to kidnap. For whatever reason, that is a racially profiled hate crime.[...]
-  He's against alia but doesn't give a reason.
- That is exactly what the German Jews said right before they were transported to the death camps. I guess he has not learned anything from history.
- One of the questions asked from the Charlie Hebdo murders, would thse acts unify the French people, or, as time passed, just become more news and nothing more... it is obvious the French government and national media only give lip service to these acts of murder and violence by extremists, only serving their best interests in maintaining some status quo, while the cancer in their society in general gets worse.

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