Israeli filmmaker and screenwriter Nadav Lapid's remarks about the film The Kashmir Files triggered a controversy on Tuesday. During the closing ceremony of the 53rd edition of the International Film Festival of India, Lapid called the movie 'vulgar' and said it was propaganda.
Lapid said, "All of us were disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, by the movie 'The Kashmir Files' that felt to us like a propaganda vulgar movie inappropriate for the artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival."
"I feel totally comfortable to share openly these feelings here with you on stage since the spirit that we felt in the festival can also accept critical discussion, which is essential for art and for life," he added.
His remarks drew criticism from all quarters with the Israel envoy to India saying Lapid needed to be ashamed of what he said.
Who is Nadav Lapid?
Lapid is a film director and a screenwriter from Israel. Lapid was the chairperson of the International Competition Jury for this year's edition held in Goa.
Lapid was born in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1975. He studied philosophy at Tel Aviv University after which he served in the military. Lapid moved to Paris after his military service, but returned to Israel and studied cinema at the Sam Spiegel Film School in Jerusalem.
Lapid's films have received several awards. The Berlin Film Festival website says, "His debut feature film Policeman won the Special Jury Prize at Locarno in 2011 while The Kindergarten Teacher featured in the 2014 Semaine de la Critique at Cannes."
He is also the recipient of the French Order Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.
His film Synonyms won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2019. The film was semi-autobiographical in nature and followed the story of Yoav an Israeli who moved to Paris.
Speaking about the film, Lapid was quoted by Reuters as saying, "In his head, he leaves the worst country ever to arrive in the best country ever... And at a certain moment, he is facing a more complex reality. But I am always a little bit like Yoav ... I'm trying to open this closed door. I'm always charmed by something that exists in France."