Political issues played a major role at the Berlinale, which ended this weekend. The film festival opened a little over a week ago with rallies against the right. Posters such as “No Racism, no AFD” were held up to the cameras, and previously invited party politicians were disinvited.

The 74th Berlinale also remained political when it came to the awards, although the focus shifted to the international level: the “Golden Bear” was won by the documentary film “Dahomey” by the French-born director Mati Diop. Your film deals with the return of art treasures that were stolen from Benin, West Africa, then Dahomey, in 1892.

However, what is currently making more headlines is the documentary film prize, which is sponsored by the Berlin broadcaster RBB and which went to the film “No Other Land”, a Palestinian-Norwegian production.

The protagonist of the film is a young Palestinian activist in the West Bank who has been fighting since childhood against the expulsion of his community by the Israeli occupation and is supported by an Israeli journalist.

At the film’s premiere at the Berlinale, its makers described Israel as an apartheid state, alluding to the racial segregation cemented by the state in South Africa in the second half of the 20th century. According to the German Press Agency, individual audience members shouted slogans such as “Free Palestine” in the hall following the film.

Two men who called for peace for Israel and Palestine at the event were shouted down and insulted. The Hamas massacre against Israel, which was only mentioned in passing in the film, played no role in this Berlinale event, it said.

Anti-Israel slogans came into focus again towards the end of the film festival, as several media reported on Sunday. Accordingly, on the evening of the award ceremony, the Palestinian filmmaker and activist Basel Adra, one of the makers of “No Other Land”, called on Germany to stop supplying weapons to Israel.

The “Spiegel” quotes Adra as saying that it was difficult for him to celebrate while “tens of thousands of people were being slaughtered in Gaza.” The fact that Israel’s attack came after the mass murder of Israelis carried out from the Gaza Strip remained unmentioned.

The audience responded to the Palestinian filmmaker’s words with strong applause. Festival officials wore Palestinian scarves, as can be seen in photos. According to “Spiegel”, there was no classification of the events in the Middle East and the Gaza war “by any side”.

The co-director of the Berlinale, Mariette Rissenbeek, then mentioned Hamas and appealed to the terrorist organization to release the Israeli hostages, according to the portal.

The “Jüdische Allgemeine” reported on the evening of the awards ceremony with the headline “Berlinale becomes a one-sided pro-Palestine show.” The largest mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust, the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, played no more of a role at the highly political gala evening than did the “more than 130 hostages who are still in the hands of Hamas ” criticizes the paper.

Israel suffered more than 1,100 deaths and thousands of injuries after the attack last October. Many families continue to fear for their relatives who have been held hostage.

Sources: “Der Spiegel”, “Presseportal”, “Jüdische Allgemeine” / me material from dpa

Read at stern: The horror of October 7th was a turning point in their lives: Four Israelis look back on their 2023 – and tell us what they hope for the coming year. In this episode: Inbar Lizmi, whose son died defending his city from invading Hamas terrorists.