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Sperm-smuggling movie 'Amira' hits Palestinian raw nerve

Egyptian film director Mohamed Diab sees his movie 'Amira' as a drama that has drawn crowds at international festivals but for many Palestinians, it's an insult to their prisoners in Israeli jails.

Sperm-smuggling movie Amira hits Palestinian raw nerve

Sentinel Digital Desk

Egyptian film director Mohamed Diab sees his movie 'Amira' as a drama that has drawn crowds at international festivals but for many Palestinians, it's an insult to their prisoners in Israeli jails. The story of a girl conceived with sperm smuggled out of prison whose biological father turns out to be an Israeli jailer rather than a Palestinian inmate is not going to the Oscars after all. After screenings at festivals in Italy, Tunisia and Egypt, Diab, a 43-year-old filmmaker educated in New York with several awards to his name, had been counting on Jordan, where Amira was filmed, to nominate it to represent the kingdom at the Oscars. But instead, Jordan has pulled the movie. "We do believe in the artistic value of the film, and that its message doesn't harm in any way the Palestinian cause nor that of the prisoners; on the contrary, it highlights their plight, their resilience," its Royal Film Commission said.

However, it withdrew the film "in light of the recent huge controversy that the film has triggered and the perception by some that it is detrimental to the Palestinian cause and out of respect to the feelings of the prisoners and their families".

Its subject matter is not uncommon: dozens of children are said to have been born from vials of sperm smuggled out of Israeli jails by released prisoners who manage to evade the scrutiny of army checkpoints.

The method served Lydia Rimawi, a Palestinian in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to give birth to three children. But she detests the twist in the tale of Diab's "disgusting" movie.

"It's not a movie such as Amira that will make us bend: nobody on Earth can make us bow our head," she wrote angrily on Facebook. Under the hashtag #Pull Out Amira, social media has been awash with criticism of Diab's work. (Agencies)

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