Palestinian actors starring in the new film “Let There Be Morning” withdrew their participation from the Cannes Film Festival, in protest of the film being labeled as an Israeli production.
The film written and directed by Eran Kolirin is an adaptation from the book of the same name by Palestinian writer Sayed Kashua, tells the story of an Israeli Palestinian who comes to discover his identity and national affiliation after finding the village he grew up in.
“Let There Be Morning” premiered at the Cannes film festival on Saturday features several prominent Arab and Palestinian actors, including Alex Bakri, Juna Suleiman, and Salim Dau, all of whom signed a letter explaining their decision to boycott the festival.
“We are proud and stand behind our participation in the film of our friend and ally, Eran Kolirin, which is based on the book by Sayed Kashua, Let There Be Morning,” the letter stated.
“And yet, we cannot ignore the contradiction that stems from the fact that the film was accepted to Cannes under the ‘Israeli film’ category,” it added.
Furthermore, the cast also condemned what they claim is Israel’s policy in the Palestinian territories, which they claim includes “denial of rights, apartheid, military control, violence against Palestinians, erasure of identity” and more.
Meanwhile, the Israeli director Kolirin has issued a response to the boycott on his Facebook page, saying: “I love these people, respect their decision (although I would have preferred they came to celebrate the art with me) and I support their struggle. Thank you for the beautiful words, beautiful cast.”
The production team explained to Daily Haaretz that this is not a boycott of the festival, but a political statement on the part of the Palestinian-Israeli actors who star in the film.
“The actors did not decide to boycott. That terminology is incorrect, and plays on common tropes that people want to hear,” Kolirin told Haaretz on Thursday.