Award-winning Israeli Cop Film Finally to Hit American Shores

"Policeman" not only won 2011 Locarno film festival prize but also led to change in Israeli movie censorship rules.

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A scene from "Policeman" with Yaara Pelzig in front.
A scene from "Policeman" with Yaara Pelzig in front.Credit: Amit Berlovitz

Israeli prizewinning film "Policeman" is slated to hit U.S. theaters in June – three years after its original release –the IMDb and Movie Insider websites have reported.

"Policeman" ("Hashoter") won the Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Locarno film festival. Directed and written by Nadav Lapid, the movie follows the story of Yaron, a member of an Israeli anti-terrorist unit who clashes with "a small group of young, passionate, idealist, and politically extreme individuals with their own vision of how Israeli society should be," according to Movie Insider.

The film stars Yiftach Klein, Yaara Pelzig and Michael Moshonov.
"Policeman" was front and center of controversy involving the Israel Film Council, which is part of the Culture and Sports Ministry, when it was first released. A subcommittee of the council decided to restrict the film to viewers 18 and above, even though the movie did not contain any violence or sexually explicit scenes, in late August 2011. Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat stepped in and asked Nissim Abouloff, the chairman of the council, to hold off on the decision.

"This is an absurd decision and the censorship is political," Lapid said in response at the time.

The council within a week reversed its decision, restricting the film to ages 14 and over. The council also decided that henceforth any decision to limit a film to ages 18 and up would require the full council's approval and removed such power from subcommittees like the one that imposed the original restriction on "Policeman."

"This whole story of restricting the age of film audiences is ridiculous, in my view, and I don't really understand who these people are who have been deemed suitable to judge which film is suitable for which ages," said Lapid after the decision, as Nirit Anderman reported. "This film has much less on-screen violence than any average American action film, or any Israeli film about the Israel Defense Forces. It appears that, for the council, opposing the tycoons constitutes violence but [a soldier] engaging in combat isn't violence."