The Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri, has brought his latest film The Attack to San Sebastián to compete in the Official Section. Adapted from the book by Yasmina Khadra, it tells the story of an Israeli-Arab surgeon, fully assimilated into Tel Aviv society, whose life is shattered by the revelation that his wife has been responsible for a suicide bombing.
Along with his actors Ali Suleiman, Ramzi Maqdisi and Kalim Saleh, the director analysed some of the dilemmas that the film had thrown up at a press conference at the Kursaal yesterday.
The director said that he had wanted to let the audience draw their own conclusions about the motives that drove the suicide bomber, as he thought that, if they had provided a clear reason, it would have been too pigeonholed. “The film wasn’t really about her but him, and asked how had he missed the warning signs and what mistakes had he made.”
With regard to possible solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Doueiri confessed that he wasn’t especially optimistic. Rather than look for a global solution, he preferred to concentrate on the personal angle. He praised the contribution made by the Israeli crew members, and said that on a personal level, working with the “enemy” had turned out to be really positive.
Ali Suleiman agreed. “A movie can’t solve problems or give you your homeland back. We just want to tell the story from our point of view.” Ramzi Maqdisi also stressed that they didn’t want to justify terrorism but to show what a Palestinian feels, without taking sides - “We’re not going to change the world with a film.”
On a more positive note, Kalim Saleh said he had enjoyed the opportunity to work with so many different cultures: “It pushed my boundaries.”
The director revealed that the film already had American distribution, but that the situation was still a bit tricky as far as getting it screened in Israeli cinemas was concerned.