In Defamation, director Yoav Shamir sets out to discover the realities of anti-Semitism as an identity issue. Is it an extant threat continually on the verge of coalescing into a second Holocaust? Or is it a scare tactic used by right-wing Zionists to discredit their critics? Most opinions fall in the gray area between two vastly different poles. Representing one end of the spectrum is Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League and ardent advocate of the theory that anti- Semitism is ubiquitous and requires constant vigilance to be kept in check. His foil in the debate is Norman Finkelstein, a controversial author, professor, and son of Holocaust survivors, who asserts a vast conspiracy orchestrated by Israel itself to undermine critics of its policy. Through Shamir’s evenhanded lens, both men have moments of visionary clarity as well as unhinged ramblings. And they are only two voices in a cacophonous global debate.
Yoav Shamir, born 1970 in Tel Aviv, earned an MFA in film from Tel Aviv University. His films as director and cinematographer include the documentaries ‘Marta and Luis,’ ‘Checkpoint,’ which received more than 20 awards and screened in more than 120 international film festivals, and the award winning films ‘5 Days’ and ‘Flipping Out.’
Austria, Denmark, Israel, USA
93', color, 35 mm
Karoline Leth, Sandra Itkoff, Philippa Kowarsky, Knut
SF-Film Production, Reveal Productions Inc., Cinephil, Knut.Ogris.Films
Festivals & Awards:
Asia Pacific - Screen Award; Rencontres internationales du documentaire - Camera at the Ready Award; CPH:DOX - Special Mention; Festival Popoli - Best Documentary DMZ; Korean International Documentary Festival - Grand Prix; London Film Festival - Grierson Award for Best Documentary; Warsaw Film Festival - Audience Award; Dokufest - Special Mention; Documenta Madrid - Audience Award; Tribeca Film Festival - Special Jury Mention