Palestinian Cast of Israeli Movie to Boycott Cannes Film Festival

The Palestinian-Israeli actors in Eran Kolirin's 'Let There Be Morning' say their decision not to attend the Cannes Film Festival is a political statement

Nirit Anderman
Nirit Anderman
A scene from the film, 'Let it be Morning.'
A scene from the film, 'Let it be Morning.'Credit: Shai Goldman
Nirit Anderman
Nirit Anderman

Cannes – The cast of “Let There Be Morning,” Israeli director Eran Kolirin’s new film premiering at the Cannes Film Festival this Saturday, has decided not to attend the French Film Festival.

The production team explained to Haaretz that this is not a boycott of the festival, but a political statement on the part of the Palestinian-Israeli actors who star in Let There Be Morning.

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“The actors did not decide to boycott. That terminology is incorrect, and plays on common tropes that people want to hear,” Kolirin told Haaretz on Thursday.

“They are not boycotting, they are very proud to have participated in the film, they love the film and are proud that it is being screened at Cannes," Kolirin said. "They have decided on a political act of absence to protest cultural erasure. I understand that, and support their every decision. It hurts me that they won’t be there to celebrate their stunning work, but I respect their position.”

Let There Be Morning is based on the book by the journalist, screenwriter and author Sayed Kashua. The film tells the story of Sami, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who returns to his hometown with his wife and son to attend his brother’s wedding. The wedding passes smoothly, but on their way home the family encounters Israeli soldiers who demand they retrace their steps. Sami pleads with the soldiers, explaining he is an Israeli citizen, that tomorrow is his day off and that his son will miss school, to no avail. The family is forced to return to the village and Sami finds himself imprisoned and besieged in his hometown, without any explanation why or for how long.

Kolirin is well known for writing and directing the acclaimed 2007 film, "The Band's Visit," which was later adapted to a hit Broadway play.

The film stars Alex Bachri, Salim Daw, Juna Suleiman, Eihab Salame, Isabelle Ramadan, Samer Basharat, Chalifa Natour and Doraid Liddawi.

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