No problem of censorship for political films in Israel: Eran Riklis

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New Delhi, July 15 (UNI) Given the history of political turmoil between Israel and Palestine, one would assume that an Israeli filmmaker basing his film on the political scenario would invariably face problems from the Censors in that country.

Leading Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis, however, says that there are little or no censorship problems faced by filmmakers in his country. Eran Riklis, whose films 'Lemon Tree' and 'Syrian Bride' are being screened at the Ongoing Osians' Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab cinema in the Asian and Arab competition and in the 'focus on Israel' section, told UNI here that ''rather than facing a problem from the Censors, I have received a lot of encouragement from the Israeli Government with the Foreign Ministry using many of my films to raise a debate about the conflicts''.

At the same time, Eran, however, admitted that there were some problems when trying to get finance for making the films.

Stating that having experienced first hand the political scenario in Israel, making political films came naturally to him.

''It is difficult to make a film that does not have some kind of political element in it, given the present political scenario. It is difficult to escape political issues because as a respected filmmaker, one has a responsibility to tell the truth. The aim should, however, be to make a film that people understand and relate to. In fact, the films one makes should be honest and true to the local people of the country and their problems,''he said.

Asked whether he had, at any point of time, worked on the idea of avoiding any political references in his films, Eran said, ''Everything is ultimately linked to politics''. He said the work of a filmmaker was to promote and provoke ideas through a film and then let the viewer judge it. Eran said both his films being screened at this festival 'Lemon tree' in the Asian and Arab competition and 'Syrian Bride' in the focus on Israel were based on true stories but he had taken cinematic liberties and added to them. The 'Syrian Bride' has won several awards at International festivals. On women being portrayed as immensely strong characters in his films, he said he attempted to make women the focal point of his films as they were the ones who suffered the most in the political imbroglio in Israel and Palestine.

''These stories required women to be on the centrestage because they are the underdogs,''he said.

He had found that people could relate very easily to the kind of films he made since people in most countries were facing similar situations. The films dealt with a complexity of situations: political, psychological, and emotional.

While noting that a large number of good films were being made in Israel today, Eran, however, admitted that if it were not for the conflict with Palestine, the growth of the industry would be bigger.

''Israel and Palestine can together be a force to reckon with in world cinema. Unfortunately that is not happening,'' he said.


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