Director of Kidon, Emmanuel Naccache, was thrilled to see his movie snatch the title of ‘Best Film’ during the ‘Audience Choice Award’ at this year’s SERET film festival.
Naccache and his troops brought some comedy-thriller realness to the table with this French/Israeli co-production, showcasing the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh being blamed on Mossad and questioning whether the agency was in fact framed by a group of small-time criminals. Naccache thought the Mabhouh story was the perfect story to adapt to this genre. He feels audiences too often think that Israeli movies have to be serious or political, so his intention with Kidon was to take an extremely political subject and to turn it into something completely non-politicized in its treatment, suggesting that we can indeed laugh at everything and that we should probably do this a little bit more often.
When Kidon went on to steal the title of ‘Best Film’ at the SERET festival, Naccache says the win came as a thrilling surprise. The festival was a great opportunity for the movie to meet with the UK audience, as Naccache feels Kidon shares a lot of common ground with the British approach to comedy, rendering the UK audience great potential for connecting with it, as this award seems to confirm.
As a dedicated supporter of the SERET film festival, ADOT also premiered their short film ‘Words Kill Wars’ at the festival this year. The film is part of ADOT’s peace campaign that promotes dialogue as an instrument for achieving peace and Naccache finds the film very powerful and explicit, tackling the only true solution for bringing people together: dialogue.
ADOT is all about inspiring a shift in perspectives. We grow up being taught to focus on the differences that set US and THEM apart, which forces gaps between nations, cultures and religions, causing prejudices, discrimination and conflict. In essence, the habit of focusing on differences in each other sits at the root of war.
Only through a shift in perspectives to acknowledging the similarities we all share can we connect with our neighbours and see peace, something Naccache can relate to only too well. During his military reserve periods in the west bank, he often found himself in situations where he could feel this common ground that we all share. He remembers a specific time when he was keeping the gate of a settlement near Hebron, where Palestinians would come in for work daily. Him and the other the soldiers would be sitting at the gate, listening to the radio, and Palestinian workers would walk in and out. As days went on, communication between the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian workers expanded, to the point where they would know each other’s names, share a cigarette or a coffee as they listened to football reports on the radio. Then one day, he was serving coffee to one of the Palestinian workers when a news flash interrupted the broadcast and announced a bombing somewhere in Israel. Naccache says you could feel the tension stepping back in, but also the disappointment that something had to break the nice spell of simple human bonding.
Naccache says it’s only by forcing oneself to be in touch with those who are different that we can start to relate to them and see things through what we share. People have never traveled as much as today and communication tools have never been as efficient. Thus, he has hopes that the tools exist to change perspectives. It’s only a matter of education, about parents teaching their children to love and not to hate.