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Photo: Ran Mendelson
Will copy of 'Farewell Baghdad' make it to Iraq?
Photo: Ran Mendelson
Israeli film raises interest in Iraq
'Farewell Baghdad,' which documents activity of Jewish underground in Iraqi capital, set to be screened in Arab country this month – if politics doesn’t get in the way.
Israeli film "Farewell Baghdad," which is based on an Eli Amir novel and documents the activity of the Jewish underground in Baghdad, is about to come full circle and be screened in Iraq.

 

 

After drawing some 150,000 viewers to Israel's cinemas, the film's producers are attempting to transfer a copy of the film to Iraq for a special, secret screening at one of Baghdad's main cinemas. The producers hope to find an insurance company which will provide protection for the person who will physically transfer the copy to Iraq, as it is impossible to send it by mail.

 

The initiative to screen the movie in Baghdad belongs to a leading official in Iraq's film industry, who asked to remain anonymous. The Iraqi source secretly contacted an acquaintance and colleague in the Israeli film industry and asked him to check with the distributors in Israel whether they would be willing to give him a copy of the film.

 

The film's distributors, brothers Moshe and Leon Edery, were moved by the courageous appeal and are making efforts to transfer the copy through a third country. If they are successful, "Farewell Baghdad" will be screened in the Iraqi capital this month.

 

"It will be a highly important historic moment," says Moshe Edery. "I will be very glad to see an Israel film finally being screened in Iraq."

 

"Farewell Baghdad" tells the story of the Jewish community in the Iraqi capital on the eve of the State of Israel's establishment, and the way Jewish families and heads of the Jewish underground dealt with the authorities' hostility.

 

The film is filled with nostalgic memories from the life of Jews in Baghdad, including a reenactment of the customs, clothing, food, and mainly the Iraqi language in the Jewish dialect, which was common in every home.

 

Actor: I wish I could see audience's reaction

The Iraqi filmmaker who initiated the moves said he was exposed to the movie's success in Israel through social networks and read about it on the Internet. He said he realized that due to its historic importance, it was worth taking the risk and making the effort to screen it in Baghdad. He asked, however, to remain anonymous for fear that radical elements would target him and the viewers at the special screening.

 

The film has created an interest in Morocco as well. One of producers, Dov Keren, received an appeal from a producer in the city of Tangier who is interested in distributing the film in the local cinematheque but says the event must be well organized. About two years ago, when Israeli film "Sharqiya" was screened in Tangier's cinematheque, it was accompanied by fiery protests and the second screening was called off.

 

The Arab press has also shown an interest in "Farewell Baghdad." The film's creators have given interviews to leading media outlets in Egypt and Lebanon.

Author Eli Amir and director Nissim Dayan have given an interview to the Alhurra Arabic-language satellite television channel, which is broadcast in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt. Amir has also given an interview to the Japanese TV.

 

"I wish I could be at the screening in Baghdad and see the audience's reaction," says lead actor Daniel Gad. "Since the film hit the screens, I have been receiving responses from Israel and all over the world. Everywhere I go, people call me Kabi after my character in the film."

 

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