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When I spoke with Lebanese-born Ziad Doueiri on July 31, 2013, it was the day after his film, THE ATTACK, had played to an enthusiastic and nearly sold-out screening at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Doueiri‘s film is one that provokes strong emotions, as in an almost Hitchcockian fashion, Dr. Amin Jaafari, a Palestinian-Israeli, an apolitical man, is thrust into the darkest part of the Middle Eastern conflict because of actions by his wife. That he knew nothing about them doesn’t matter. In an instant, everything changes and for the worse.
My first question to Doueiri, who worked on several Quentin Tarantino films after emigrating to the U.S., was a suitably philosophical one, about whether a culture of such mistrust and violence can ever heal itself. He was direct, thoughtful, and not averse to making a joke from time to time as we went on to talk about why the film is banned in 22 Arab countries, how he knew what he was getting into breaking Lebanese law by filming in Israel, and why he actively sought to have his film pirated in those countries where it would not otherwise be seen. We also talked about the short-lived attempt to produce the film through Focus Features, when Tom Hanks was proposed as the lead.
Click the link to listen to the interview (24:48) THE ATTACK — Ziad Doueiri Interview.