Update: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Tahar Rahim, Swann Arlaud, Ariane Labed, and more have signed a letter asking French President Emmanuel Macron to recognize Palestine as a state, “not only in response to current massacre, but in the name of the right of this people to exist.” Read the original story below.

No reasonably intelligent person imagines an artist’s statement about the horrors in Gaza would, in fact, end those horrors, but there are always limits to what one can take and hopes for what one could do. It might even be said that, as observers of the world and human behavior, filmmakers are especially inclined to recoil. When I interviewed Pedro Costa last month he spoke, unprompted, of a situation that’s only grown worse: “It’s very clear that we cannot stand images anymore. I can’t. I can’t. The images of the world for me [Exhales] I can’t. I turn my eyes, and I’m sure you do the same. It’s unbearable.” When I spoke with Anthony Dod Mantle a couple of weeks later it, again, emerged––vis-a-vis The Zone of Interest, whose own cinematographer alluded to it the next day. It’s difficult being a person in the world, artist or otherwise, and not encounter some detail about the mass killing; it’s almost impossible to really see what’s happening without a pit-of-your-stomach sensation.

Thus it’s worth commending this list of luminaries, all with something to lose and someone to alienate, who’ve issued a collective demand for ceasefire in Libération. Among them are Claire Denis, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Christian Petzold, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Jia Zhangke, Claire Simon, Ira Sachs, and Víctor Erice––all of whom have recently premiered or are soon to debut films in environments and for entities that have been tense, if not outright hostile, to such stances.

As their (translated) statement says:

“The terrible violence of October 7 plunged Israelis and Palestinians into a new episode of killing and cruelty. What is currently taking place in Gaza is a massacre of extreme proportions, which is killing thousands of women and children and destroying the minimum conditions of survival for an entire people. We demand an immediate end to the bombings on Gaza, the establishment of humanitarian corridors and material resources demanded by all international organizations and the release of the hostages.

This tragic situation was announced by Israelis more than fifty years ago, as recalled in the text read in Paris on December 2 by filmmaker Avi Mograbi: ‘Our right to defend ourselves against extermination does not give us no right to oppress others. Occupation results in foreign domination. Foreign domination breeds resistance. Resistance leads to repression. Repression leads to terrorism and counter-terrorism. The victims of terrorism are generally innocent people. The control over the occupied territories will make us murderers and murdered. Let’s get out of the occupied territories now!

This text was published in Haaretz in September 1967, co-signed by Shimon Tsabar, Haim Hanegbi, Rafi Zichroni, David Ehrenfeld, Uri Lifschitz, Arié Bober, Dan Omer, Moshe Machover, Schneour Sherman, Raif Elias, Eli Aminov, Yehuda Rozenstrauch.

We in turn rally around these words today.”

Full list below:

Nadav Lapid
Pedro Costa
Aki Kaurismäki
Wang Bing
Béla Tarr
Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Víctor Erice
Radu Jude
Abderrahmane Sissako
Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Walter Salles
Claire Denis
Robert Guédiguian
Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Laurent Cantet
Claire Simon
Cédric Kahn
André Téchiné
Corneliu Porumboiu
Jia Zhangke
Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Anand Patwardhan
Ira Sachs
Nobuhiro Suwa
Arthur Harari
Philippe Faucon
Patricia Mazuy
Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Rithy Panh
Lav Diaz
Christian Petzold
Arnaud Des Pallières
Hassan Fehrani
Sylvain George
Karim Moussaoui
John Gianvito
Mark Cousins
Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Hicham Lasri
Eléonore Weber
Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Lam Lê
Emilie Deleuze
Bette Gordon
Simone Bitton
Maren Ade
Tan Chuimui
Clotilde Courau
Partho Sen-Gupta
Nicolas Wackerbarth
Bruno Bontzolakis

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