Palestinians expressed outrage over 'Amira', which revolves around a 17-year-old Palestinian girl who was conceived with the smuggled sperm of her imprisoned father.
The Royal Film Commission – Jordan has decided to withdraw Mohamed Diab’s Amira, which was submitted as an official entry to represent Jordan in the Oscars 2022.
In light of the recent huge controversy that the film has sparked and the perception by some that it is detrimental to the Palestinian cause, the Royal Film Commission has made this decision.
The independent selecting committee, which was formed by the RFC and selected Amira over other movies to represent the Kingdom, agreed on the decision.
The Lower House of the Jordanian parliament, the Jordanian Press Association and the Artists Association issued statements over the past two days, condemning the film which they described as “disgraceful and insulting to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and their sacrifices.”
Jordan also suspended the screening of Amira following heavy criticism that the film “insults Palestinian prisoners.”
Palestinian activists launched a social media campaign with the hashtag, Pull Out Amira, calling for the film’s boycott and saying that its premise insults the dignity of Palestinian prisoners.
The film deals with a real-life phenomenon of Palestinian children conceived via IVF using the smuggled sperm of Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails. Amira, a 17-year-old Palestinian, was conceived with the smuggled sperm of her imprisoned father, Nawar. Although their relationship since birth has been restricted to prison visits, he remains her hero. His absence in her life is overcompensated with love and affection from those surrounding her. But when a failed attempt to conceive another child reveals Nawar’s infertility, Amira’s world turns upside down.
In a statement, Egyptian director Mohamed Diab said: “We understand the anger expressed by many over what they think is the abuse of the prisoners and their families, and it is a national anger that we understand, but we would have liked the film to be watched before judging it.”
He added that the film never meant to hurt the feelings of the prisoners or their families.
He continued: “We consider that Palestinian prisoners and their feelings are our priority and our main cause, so any screenings of the film will be stopped, and we demand the establishment of a specialized committee by the prisoners and their families to watch and discuss it. We believe in the purity of what we presented in Amira.”
The film was shown in many international festivals including Venice, El Gouna and Carthage, as well as Karama Film Festival in Amman. It has also won two international awards in Venice.