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Israli 'Synonyms' wins Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear

  • Published at 04:57 pm February 17th, 2019
web-Nadav Lapid shows Golden Bear for Best Film after the awards ceremony at the 69th Berlinale International Film Festival ReUteRS
Nadav Lapid shows Golden Bear for Best Film after the awards ceremony at the 69th Berlinale International Film Festival Reuters

Nadav Lapid dedicated the film to his mother Era Lapid, who edited his films until her death during the final cutting of this one

Israeli director Nadav Lapid's film "Synonyms,” about an Israeli man who tries to suppress his origins after moving to Paris, starting with his own language, won the Berlin Film Festival's coveted Golden Bear award on Saturday.

The film, about Yaav (Tom Mercier) and his struggle to reinvent himself as French, surgically excising everything about himself that is Israeli, was based on Lapid's own experiences of moving abroad and the ambivalence he felt for his homeland.

Lapid dedicated the film to his mother Era Lapid, who edited his films until her death during the final cutting of this one.

"We edited this film together between hospitals and the editing suite," he said in his acceptance speech. "My film is dedicated to her."

Acknowledging that the film, which explores the tensions between roots and identity, could prove controversial in both Israel and France, he pleaded with audiences to receive it as a "celebration of cinema."

Home to Europe's largest Jewish community, France has seen militant attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions in recent years, sparking concerns about resurgent anti-Semitism in the country.

"Perhaps there are people who see this film as a scandal, but for me this film is a celebration of cinema," he said. "I hope that people will recognise the fury and rage for what they are - close cousins of the strong feelings of attachment and closeness."

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