“Foxtrot,” a film that Israel’s culture minister said attempts to “undermine” her country and its soldiers’ morality, has been named to the Academy Awards shortlist for best foreign language film.
Director Samuel Maoz’s movie made the list of nine films announced Thursday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 92 submissions. Five finalists will be selected on Jan. 23, when all the Oscar-nominated films are announced.
“Foxtrot” features a scene in which Israeli soldiers kill a family in their car and then cover up the act.
The culture minister, Miri Regev, vowed not to give state funding for the film and others like it, which she termed “enemy propaganda.”
Maoz and lead actor Lior Askenazi defended the film as an “allegorical tale” about what they consider Israeli occupation, adding it does not seriously claim the Israeli army covers up civilians’ deaths.
It won the Silver Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival and swept the Ophir Awards, Israel’s version of the Oscars, with eight wins, earning it a place as Israel’s entry for the Academy Awards in the foreign language category.
Among its competition for the Oscar will be Lebanon’s “The Insult,” about the civil war in that country. French-Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri was briefly detained this year in Lebanon after arriving there to promote the film for having shot 2013’s ” The Attack” in Israel. He was eventually cleared by a military tribunal.
“The Insult,” set in the postwar era, centers around a legal dispute between Christian nationalist Tony, played by Lebanese actor and comedian Adel Karam, and Palestinian Yasser, played by Basha.
Israel’s last nominee to make it to the Oscars was Joseph Cedar’s 2011 film “Footnote,” which lost to “A Separation,” the Iranian entry. That year was the last time an Israeli film made the shortlist, AFP reported.
Read our full review on the movie here.