Parsing the Oscars: Affleck turned resistance into peevishness

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I expected to see the illegal Israeli Occupation emblazoned in the Oscars’ annual spectacle Sunday night, but the announcement of the Academy Award for best documentary fizzled.  Why? Award-giver Ben Affleck’s list had a structural deception: it squeezed together all the plot summaries, without identifying the separate films, then named each with images of Palestine, Israel, and the U.S. that–out of context–conveyed nothing. 

Affleck opened by stating an ideal:

A documentary filmmaker uses the camera to show real life and real people in a way that is insightful, often astonishing, but–above all–truthful.  

But that truism isn’t true of the words Affleck mouthed next in listing the subjects of the nominated films, here, 5 Broken Cameras, “This year’s films illuminated the tension and resentment of those living in the West Bank….”

Affleck, who would later win the biggest prize, “Best Picture,” for an adventure flick fantasizing about a stereotypical battle of wits between supposed American derring-do against lesser Iranians, went right by the creative bravery that’s real in 5 Broken Cameras: Bil’in’s endlessly inventive Resistance.  He distorted a struggle in Occupied Palestine, involving the actual land-owners’ peaceful interference with theft and murder, as peevishness by transients with no claim to the land.

Next he described the Israeli film, The Gatekeepers

“…behind-the-scenes operatives in the same–working in secret in that same land; [Israeli Shin Bet Directors reduced to ‘operatives’!]”

–before summarizing the three other films, and moving on to name them individually: “Here are the nominees for Best Documentary Feature: 5 Broken Cameras.” There followed clips of Emad Burnat with his broken cameras; of Israeli soldiers shoving demonstrators; of demonstrators being pushed as they held Palestinian flags; of three Israeli soldiers on an outcropping, with one firing a shot.

And for The Gatekeepers:  picture of the Handshake between Arafat and Rabin–with Clinton in between, pledging the 1993 Oslo declaration of principles; a clip of a targeted assassination; footage of pictures on the wall, Yitzak Shamir being  closest and biggest.

So, in sum, the Academy had Affleck: 1. Smush together the descriptions of all the films– without naming any.  listeners could not follow the meaning–let alone what was left out– through that muddle. All I caught at the time was the derogatory “resentment…in the West Bank.” 2. Omit the words “Israeli Government, illegal Occupation, and military.” 3. Censor the criticism that both 5 Broken Cameras and The Gatekeepers lodge at the Israeli Occupation. 4. Describe both documentaries–with confusing shots from each–in such a way that those “tensions and resentment of those living in the West Bank” seemed the fault of the demonstrators. 

After ignoring the real-life heroism of Palestinians and Israelis, Affleck’s advice in his own acceptance speech seemed sadly wasted: “it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen. All that matters is you gotta get up.” Ben Affleck’s words are truer than he knows, but about more than movie-making.

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I’d like to see Benny Boy Gigli get a mountain of twitters letting him know what a misinformed enabler of the perpetual war machine he is not to mention the fact that he resorts to BIASED racist stereotypes to give the dumb masses a cheap thrill. His film is pure propaganda fantasy and his constant digs against Iran and Iranians are contemptible and ignorant.

” So,in sum the Academy had Affleck” that about covers it. The other night Chris Matthews said the Argo win reflects the mood of the country. What hogwash. It showed the mood of the Academy committee Did you catch that short comment in his on stage rambling about the “poor people of Iran” hooey. A line right out of the neocons script. Professor Juan Cole wrote up quite the piece on the Argo win… Read more »

“This year’s films illuminated the tension and resentment of those living in the West Bank….” Yeah. Those darn resentful Palestinians. Of course, Jewish fanatics don’t live in colonies, on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank, as mainstream US media would have one believe. No. You see, they live in “Jewish neighborhoods.” So that leaves the resentful to be Palestinians. I don’t know if it was Affleck who came up with that nonsense or if… Read more »

In the earlier article on this regarding Oscars and the Ted Skit, the thread included mentioned that another thing you need for a successful career, besides pro-Israel cred, is be ready to whatever it takes to satisfy the pedophiles, which is as big a problem in Hollywood as it is in the Catholic Church (and orthodox Jewish community). 2/23 Issue of W’s Movie Issue includes Afleck giving us a sample of what he & Matt… Read more »

Affleck recited his lines. But who wrote the lines and put together the documentary montages?