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Oscar-Winner Portman "Proud to be Jewish," Speaks Against Galliano's Rant, Gitai's Free Zone Screens

by Sophia Savage
March 2, 2011 10:15 AM
2 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood


Natalie Portman may start wearing and selling another perfume. She's standing up for Israel and Judaism as a proud Jewish woman who debuted as Anne Frank on Broadway in 1997. Oscar-winning Portman has cut her ties to Dior's now-fired chief designer John Galliano after his anti-Semitic rant (he'll have to stand trial).

Portman was unveiled as the fragrance Miss Dior Cherie's poster girl in January (commercials, shot by Sofia Coppola, are now airing on national TV) and openly said backstage at the Oscars that she is "deeply shocked and disgusted by the video," in light of which, "and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way."

Thompson on Hollywood


No pushover, Portman knows when to speak out. A vegan (Academy Governor's Ball chef Wolfgang Puck made special food just for her; see our video below) and environmentalist, she stands by her beliefs. In her Oscar acceptance speech she said, "I want to thank my parents, who are right there, first and foremost for giving me my life and for giving me the opportunity to work from such an early age and showing me everyday how to be a good human being by example." Well done, Portmans.

Portman's 2005 Israeli film Free Zone is screening at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre on March 16 as part of an Amos Gitai double feature and discussion (the other is Disengagement with Juliette Binoche). Synopses of the films are below and more information on the screenings is here.

Free Zone / Disengagement
Presented with French Film and TV Office, Los Angeles, French Embassy and Insitut Français
Based in Israel, the United States and France, filmmaker Amos Gitai has produced an extraordinary, wide-ranging, and deeply personal body of work. In a repertoire of around 40 films which includes such notable titles as KIPPUR, KADOSH, FREE ZONE (starring Natalie Portman) and DISENGAGEMENT (starring Juliette Binoche), Gitai has explored the layers of history in the Middle East and beyond, including his own personal history, through such themes as homeland and exile, religion, social control and utopia.
Discussion between films with director Amos Gitai.

Free Zone
2005, New Yorker Film, 90 min, Dir: Amos Gitai
Rebecca (Natalie Portman) is an American living in Jerusalem, and has just made a clean break from her fiancé. She steps into a cab, driven by Israeli Hanna (Hanna Laslo), but instead of being driven to her expected destination, Rebecca is taken by the determined cabbie to the Free Zone in Jordan, where Hanna has been instructed to pick up a large sum of money. Laslo was awarded Best Actress for her terrific performance and the film was nominated for the Golden Palm at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. In English, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish.

Disengagement
2007, IFC Films, 115 min, Dir: Amos Gitai
When Ana (Juliette Binoche) is reunited with her Israeli step-brother Uli (Liron Levo) in France for their father's funeral, the two decide to travel to Israel and find the daughter Ana gave up 20 years prior. Crossing frontiers by car, train and boat, Ana and Uli are caught up in the turmoil and emotion of the military-enforced disengagement of Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2005. With French New Wave legend Jeanne Moreau.

2 Comments

  • Marie Tierney | November 19, 2011 6:05 AMReply

    I was surprised that Portman had anything to do with Dior in the first place. The fashion house has a tainted history with anti-Semitic groups. Dior himself made clothes for the Vichy and SS elite during WWII and his brother and niece were NAZI sympathisers. John Galliano, like most people in fashion, is not very bright. His hypocrisy astounds far more than his arguable talent for creative cut and line. His comments made in the district of Marais (a Jewish area) in Paris are alarming in their blithe idiocy. Does he believe that a gay man with a penchant for pirate costume would somehow escape the gas chambers himself during human history's worst time? He'd be the first to breathe in Zyklon B. Homosexuality was viewed as a disabling mental illness in the Third Reich and many were within the mental institutions gas was first tested. Gay men and the Jews have always shared a common bond, not just through errant and ridiculous persecution, but through creativity and expression of what is good in people. Galliano has betrayed his own let alone another. Because he cannot see this, maybe the real reason why he'd have been sent to a mental institution, now as then, is because there is no evidence of frontal lobe activity.

  • none | March 21, 2011 6:55 AMReply

    i am not going to write anything because i am afraid of what i might type, it is like i can't trust myself

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