Czech Jews protest against award for Gibson at film festival


03.07.2014 14:45

Prague - The Czech Jewish communities are concerned about Hollywood actor Mel Gibson´s participation in the 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and an award for him, their federation writes in a letter released to CTK today, citing anti-Semitic views in his film as the reason.


Australský herec Mel Gibson. ČTK/AP

The Jewish communities argue that The Passion of the Christ (2004) that Gibson directed, produced and co-wrote depicts Jews as evil and bloodthirsty beings.

Oscar-winning actor, director and producer Gibson will receive the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema at the opening of the festival in Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, on Friday, July 4. Then he will present his latest film, the mystic drama Apocalypto.

Záběr z filmu   Umučení Krista.

By bestowing the award, the festival gives space to anti-Semitic views, the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic writes in a letter addressed to festival president Jiri Bartoska.

The festival´s management respects the opinion of the Federation of Jewish Communities, but it assesses only Gibson´s film career and it will not comment on the rest, festival spokeswoman Uljana Donatova said in reaction to the protest.

She added that The Passion of the Christ was not in the festival´s programme.

"We are not authorised to judge his [Gibson´s] film-makers´ qualities, nevertheless, by bestowing such a prize on him, the International Film Festival becomes another of arguable platforms that are gradually changing the atmosphere in our country from a traditional, relatively tolerant society... into a society where space is given to hostile, xenophobic and anti-Semitic opinions," the Jewish federation writes.

It points out the film that Gibson shot ten years ago and that depicts the last 12 hours from the life of Jesus Christ.

The federation refers to the opinion of commentators who consider it one of the most offensive films that have ever been shot.

It was said shortly after the film´s premiere that it could be easily abused for legitimising the anti-Jewish hatred in the time of escalating anti-Semitism, the Jewish federation says.

Gibson, 58, who was born in the USA and moved to Australia when he was 12, won two Oscar Academy Awards for Braveheart (1995), directed and produced by and starring him, a Golden Globe and about 30 other film awards.

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