The Infidel, a new film starring Iranian comedian Omid Djalili as a Muslim who discovers that he was born a Jew, is expected to play at the UAE, but will not hit theaters anywhere in Israel, since it has been refused distribution. Even though the screenplay was penned by David Baddiel, a jewish-born comedian, it goes without distribution; whereas Four Lions, a comedic look at a dim-witted group of jihadists’ trying to plan London bombings, got distributed quicker than matzoh on passover.
Uzma Hasan, one of the film’s producers seemes surpised by the Israeli lack of interest, after experiencing great anticipation after pitching it to distributors at Cannes Film Festival (2009), which was before shooting even started up. Omid Djalili also finds it difficult to pinpoint the issue, citing it as possibly anti-semetic, asserting that it’s somewhat difficult to accurately gauge controversy after his 13 years performing stand-up routines that revolved around race, religion and suicide bombing. In the end, he hopes that the audience will get a few good laughs, which help them understand the people of another faith.
So far as people getting angry about the film, the writer, David Baddiel, cites the market-research groups of devoted Muslims who were all very accepting of the movie as reason not to worry about a backlash. As it turns out, people would like it if they were just given the chance.