AMMAN: Jordan on Thursday suspended the screening of Amira film by Egyptian director Mohamed Diab following heavy criticism that the film “insults Palestinian prisoners.”
The Royal Film Commission of Jordan, the official submitting organization to the Academy Awards, has also decided to withdraw the film Amira for consideration to the 2022 Oscars race.
The Lower House of the Jordanian parliament, the Jordanian Press Association and the Artists Association issued statements over the past two days, condemning the film which they described as “disgraceful and insulting to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and their sacrifices.”
Earlier on Thursday, Palestinian activists launched an online campaign calling for the boycott of a film titled Amira, selected as the Jordanian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards for mocking Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Using the hashtag #Pull_Out_Amira and Palestinian and pro-Palestine advocates have called on supporters to boycott the film, arguing that it whitewashes Israeli crimes.
The commission had previously announced that the film would be representing Jordan at the Oscars to compete in the international feature film category for the year 2022.
Amira, Arabic for princess, follows the life of a 17-year-old Palestinian, who was conceived with the smuggled sperm of her father who is serving a life sentence in an Israeli jail.
After her father fails to conceive another child, it is discovered that he is infertile and that Amira’s biological father is actually an Israeli officer.
Critics have argued that this feeds into Israel’s narrative and discounts the suffering of Palestinians and their struggles.
Jordanians also took to social media platforms, expressing anger over the film and demanding its boycott and withdrawal from the awards, and the hashtag “#BoycottAmiraFilm” was the top trend on over the past 24 hours.
The Lower House Palestine Committee has demanded that the film be banned from screening in Jordan.
In a statement seen by Arab News, head of the panel MP Mohammed Thahrawi called on Jordanian and Arab production companies to develop films that support the rights of Palestinian prisoners and their fight behind bars.
The Jordanian Artists Association denounced the film as “betrayal” to the Palestinian people and their cause. The Palestinian Ministry of Culture also condemned the production and screening of the film.
The Jordanian Press Association (JPA) issued a statement on Thursday, describing the film as “shameful” to the history of Arab drama and “denigrating” the struggle of the Palestinian people and their sacrifices.
JPA council member Khaled Qudah called on the Jordanian government to uncover all facts and circumstances surrounding the film, starting from the writing, directing and screening.
Egyptian filmmaker Diab published a statement on his Facebook account on Thursday in which he announced that “Amira” will be no longer screened until verified and approved by the families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Publishing the statement in the name of the “Amira” family, Diab said that the film was first screened in September during the Venice International Film Festival and then twice at the El Gouna Film Festival in Cairo and the Carthage Film Festival.
He also said that there was a consensus among the “thousands of Palestinians, Arabs and foreigner viewers that the film tacked the issue of prisoners in a positive and humanitarian manner.”
Justifying the film’s angle, Diab has been quoted as previously claiming that more than 100 children have been conceived using the smuggled-out sperm of incarcerated Palestinians since 2012, saying that it is an issue that needs to be highlighted.