Cannes Drops Screening of 'The Anti-Semite' Amid Complaints

10:56 AM PST 05/25/2012 by Georg Szalai
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Dieudonné M'bala M'bala

The Anti-Defamation League lauds the decision about the movie from controversial French comic Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, whom the group calls anti-Semitic.

The Anti-Defamation League on Friday welcomed a decision by the Cannes Film Market to drop from the screening lineup a film from controversial French comic Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, whom the group calls anti-Semitic.

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The film, entitled The Anti-Semite or Yahod Setiz, was produced by the Iranian Documentary and Experimental Film Center. The ADL said it "reportedly pokes fun at the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, where an estimated 1.5 million Jews perished during the Holocaust, and features Dieudonne as a violent and alcoholic character dressed as a Nazi officer for a fancy-dress party."

The Cannes Film Market decided to drop the film, which is scheduled to be sold only over the Internet. "Our general conditions ban the presence of all films threatening public order or religious convictions, as well as pornographic films or those inciting violence," Jerome Paillard, the market's executive director, told the AFP.

Said Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL: “Anti-Semitism has no place at Cannes, and we welcome the clear statement to that effect from the organizers of the film festival.”  

Dieudonne used to perform with a Jewish stage partner who later called him anti-Semitic after they broke up.

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"Dieudonne is known for performances that routinely include Holocaust denial, praise for Adolf Hitler, Nazi salutes, slurs against the Talmud and other anti-Semitic rhetoric," the ADL said. "He has recently garnered media attention in France after announcing his candidacy for Parliament as a member of the Anti-Zionist Party in upcoming elections."

The International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism has called for the movie to be banned from a DVD release, according to AFP.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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