Berlinale: Programme

Film file

Berlinale Classics

Avanti Popolo

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The Sinai Peninsula in June 1967 at the end of the Six-Day War. Two Egyptian soldiers get rid of their weapons and begin to make their way home. On their odyssey through the desert, they meet Israeli patrols, a dead UN peacekeeper with a considerable store of whiskey and a British tabloid reporter. When the Israeli soldiers refuse to accept the Egyptians as prisoners of war, the wanderers befriend the “enemy” and even provide support when the Israelis’ route takes them into a minefield ... Much like the one the director Rafi Bukaee (1957 – 2003) was treading with this film. His black comedy about the absurdity of war was the first Israeli film in which Arab roles were played by Arab actors. No less controversial was the scene in which one of the Egyptians appeals for sympathy from the Israelis by reciting Shylock’s famed lines from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”: “I am a Jew [...] If you prick us, do we not bleed?” Avanti popolo has long since been regarded as one of the most important and most popular films in Israeli cinema history. – International premiere of the digitally restored 2K DCP version.

Rafi Bukaee

Israel 1986

Arabic, Hebrew, English

83’ · Colour · 2K DCP

Digitally restored version 2016


Salim Dau
Suhel Haddad
Tuvia Gelber
Danny Segev
Dani Roth
Barry Langford
Michael Koresh
Yuval Cohen


Written and Directed by
Rafi Bukaee
Yoav Kosh
Zohar M. Sela
Uri Ophir
Haim Avish
Art Director
Ariel Glazer
Irit Elazar
Rafi Bukaee, Micha Shagrir

Produced by

T.T.G. Productions/Kastel Communications Ltd.

DCP: Jerusalem Cinematheque – Israel Film Archive, Jerusalem