It is the only Israeli film to participate in the annual festival, now in its seventh year in the United States. Festival goers awarded an identical number of votes both to Aloni's film and 'After the Wedding' by Danish director Susanne Bier. 'Forgiveness' which debuted at the Berlin film festival this year is based on the book 'Gilgul Mechilot', written by Aloni.
The film, an Israeli-American co-production, stars Itai Tiran, Moni Moshonov, Clara Khoury and Makram Khoury. The main character in the film is an American Jew who enlists in the IDF and during his service kills a Palestinian girl. Following the incident he is institutionalized in a psychiatric facility which is built on the ruins of a former Palestinian village. The ghosts of the village try to communicate with the young man though a Holocaust survivor who is also a patient at the facility, forcing him to confront the past.
The film has so far participated in the Toronto, Jerusalem and Karlovy Vary film festivals and will also compete in the Tokyo international film festival.
"It was very surprising and very exciting," Aloni told Ynet upon hearing the news of his win, "I'm not used to receiving love like this without controversy. I'm more used to arguments and fighting over the things that I do, as can be seen by the clashes it awakened in Israel. I think that once people let go of narrow politics and see it as a work of cinema, they are able to enjoy it.
"Woodstock was an exciting experience because the audience is interested. One of the most moving moments was when a former Israeli attacked me at a post-screening meeting I held and asked me if I'd been to Auschwitz. An elderly woman who was sitting next to her got up and said that she was a Holocaust survivor and that the film touched her deeply. That was the moment I started crying. The audience was loving and accepting and that's not taken for granted."