A documentary about 18 cows wanted by the Israeli army during the first intifada has been entered into the Best Foreign Language Film Award category
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said that the movie had been nominated for an Oscar. In fact, it had only been submitted for consideration. Middle East Eye apologies for the error made.
An animation film about cows has been submitted for consideration for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.
The award-winning film, directed by Palestinian Amer Shomali and Canadian Pal Cowan, tells the story of 18 cows that were hunted down by the Israeli army during the first intifada. The documentary distinguishes itself by using a combination of animation, interviews, and reenactments to tell the story of the cows, who were used for “independent milk production” on a Palestinian collective farm at the height of the boycott of Israeli products. In the film Israel considered the cows to be a “threat to the national security of the state of Israel.”
— Amer Shomali (@AmerShomali) August 27, 2015
Shomali, a cartoonist, spoke of how “terrifying” it was to tell a story from the grim intifada days in a humorous way.
“Humour is part of the way I see things,” he once said in an interview. “I believe that a nation that can’t make fun of its own wounds will never be able to heal them.”
Shomali wanted to tell a story that was different from the prevalent images the media focused on during the intifada, mainly of children and young men throwing stones at the Israeli army.
There was more to the first intifada than throwing rocks, Shomali argued. The true story of how a group of Palestinian middle class intellectuals in the Bethlehem town of Beit Sahour bought 18 cows from a friendly kibbutz owner to form a cooperative independent of Israel has hilarious consequences, when at the beginning, it becomes clear that the new owners don’t know anything about cows. However, the cooperative becomes a huge success, prompting Israel to declare the farm as an illegal security threat. Consequently, the dairy production is forced to go underground as the Israeli army relentlessly pursuits the cows.
The final nominations will be announced in January 2016.