Ronit Elkabetz
Israeli film banned from Egyptian festival
Egyptian film festival bans the showing of 'The Band's Visit' because of sex scene; organizers of Abu Dhabi film festival cancel screening because of Egyptian actors' pressure
The organizers of the Cairo International Film Festival that is scheduled to take place next February have banned the Israeli film "The Band's Visit" from the event, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday.


A copy of the film, which tells the story of an Egyptian band's visit to Israel, was recently sent to the organizers of the film festival. "If we were to show this film, it would be considered normalization (of relations with Israel)," organizers of the Egyptian film festival said in a statement after viewing the movie.


According to them, the scene that features the protagonist, Ronit Elkabetz, engaging in boisterous sexual relations with one of the Egyptian band's members who is played by Saleh Bakri is "shocking and will not be well-received" even though—it is important to note—the racy scene is merely insinuated.


In addition, following strong pressure applied by the Egyptian Actors' Association on the administration of the film festival in Abu Dhabi, "The Band's Visit," which was scheduled to be screened at the festival, will not be shown at the event in October.


Over the past weekend, the Egyptian Actor's Association sent a strong warning to the organizers of the film festival in the emirate saying that, if the Israeli film were to be shown during the festival, the Egyptians would boycott the event.


"We were hoping to succeed where the diplomats couldn't, but apparently the time is not yet ripe," Eilon Rachkovsky, the film's producer, said.


It was announced Saturday evening that "The Band's Visit" is being considered for two prizes by the European Film Academy: Best European Film of 2007 and the European Discovery Prize of 2007.


Eldad Beck and Yoav Birnberg contributed to this report


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