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New trial against Jenin, Jenin
By Vasilena Todorova
One of Israel’s most prominent actors of Palestinian origin Mohammad Bakri may face jail time for producing a documentary on Israel’s 2002 attack in the West Bank town of Jenin.
Five Israeli soldiers who participated in the military assault and were profiled in the film have filed a case against Bakri for allegedly falsifying information about them. The trial is scheduled for next month. The soldiers are also suing two Israeli cinemas for screening the flick.
The documentary features the Israeli military operation in the town of Jenin that killed 52 Palestinians, leveled over 150 buildings, and closed off the local camp for two weeks in April 2002.
Although the film was highly acclaimed by international screen guilds and won several awards, the Israeli film board initially banned the documentary’s screening in Israel. The Israeli Supreme Court reversed that decision in November 2003 ruling that the board`s censorship infringed on freedom of expression. Despite this success, Bakri has been blacklisted by most Israeli cinemas and his career in Israel is in jeopardy.
Born in Bina Village in Galilee, Israel in 1953, Bakri is one of Israel’s most popular actors, starring in scored of movies and plays movies by Israeli and international directors since early 1980s. He has also directed and produced three films – “1948” (1998), “Jenin, Jenin” (2002) and most recently “Since You Left” (2005). His second movie, the controversial documentary, won Best Film at Chartaje Film Festival, Tunisia and the Critics’ Prize at Ismalia Film Festival, Egypt in 2002.
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