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Pleas for West Asia peace spark off controversy

Munich and Paradise Now - two of the hottest Oscar contenders - have brought the West Asia conflict to Hollywood.

india Updated: Mar 03, 2006 19:37 IST

Munich

and

Paradise Now

-- two of the hottest Oscar contenders this year -- have brought the West Asia conflict, and controversy, to Hollywood.

Munich has five Oscar nods, including best picture, while Paradise Now has been nominated for best foreign film, ahead of Sunday's awards gala.

Both were touted by their creators, American movie mogul Steven Spielberg and Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, as pleas for peace, but many have objected to the tone of those appeals.

A group inspired by Yossi Zur, whose 16-year-old son Asaf was killed by a suicide bomber three years ago on March 5 -- the same day on which the Academy Awards ceremony is to take place -- collected over 20,000 signatures seeking to have Paradise Now, nominated for best foreign film, barred from the Oscars.

In an essay published in the New York Daily News, Zur dubbed the film an "extremely dangerous piece of work" that aims to legitimise suicide attacks.

Meanwhile, some have slammed Munich for giving voice to Palestinian extremists or mischaracterising Israel's response to the killing of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics as vengeance rather than preemption.

Now that Hamas has won a landslide victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections, the issues explored in the films are being brought into sharper focus.

First Published: Mar 03, 2006 19:37 IST