Canal+ censors Kaouther Ben Hania’s pro-Gaza speech at the 2024 César Awards

The 2024 César ceremony will certainly go down in history: the poignant speech by Judith Godrèche who calls for French #MeToo, Raphaël Quenard’s speechmale hope, in favor of angry farmers, the laudatory speech of Jamel Debbouze towards his friend Agnès Jaoui, or even politicized positions by Kaouther Ben Hania, Gala Hernández López and Arieh Worthalter. The three actors and directors spoke powerful words by calling, each in turn, for a ceasefire in Gazafour months after the outbreak of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Problem: Canal+ seems not to have appreciated Kaouther Ben Hania’s politicized speech. The Tunisian director and screenwriter, recipient of the César for best documentary 2024 for Olfa’s daughters, wanted to dedicate his speech to all the Palestinian victims, and attacked the Israeli government. A pro-Gaza speech which can surprise and annoy, and which Canal+ preferred not to relay on its replay platforms. The broadcaster thus dissociated itself from the comments made by the one who had been twice nominated for an Oscar in 2019 and 2021for two other documentaries.

“Let’s not let Julian Assange have the same fate (as Navalny)”

“Stop the massacre” implored Kaouther Ben Hania at the start of the speech, before continuing: “We all know that films do not change the world, but change our relationship to the world. And that is why I believe that we should use our notoriety a little to defend justice in this world, because we live in a world where war criminals parade with impunity while someone, like Julian Assange, the best of us, languishes in prison; Navalny is dead, let’s not let Julian Assange have the same fate she declared.

Before continuing, under a horde of applause which probably did not convince Canal+: “There are 70 journalists who were targeted and killed in Gaza, in the enclave forbidden to journalists. Saying today ‘Stop killing children’ is becoming a radical demand. It’s completely mind-blowing (…) We are not going to be silent. We’re not going to be intimidated. The massacre must stop. We have to use our notoriety because what is happening there is simply horrible. Horrible ! And no one can say: I didn’t know. This is the first massacre live-streamed, live, on our phones. And it has to stop!”

Arieh Worthalter and Gala Hernández López get involved

A powerful speech, reinforced a few minutes later by Arieh Worthalter, recipient of the César for best actor for his role in
The Goldman trial
. The Franco-Belgian actor, in turn, wanted to defend the Palestinian victims, and called for a ceasefire: “(I join) to the call for a ceasefire in Gaza, because life demands it. We are united as a species, because in light of the lessons of past pain, the path we are taking is not part of repairing the world.” Finally, director Gala Hernández López, recipient of the César for best documentary short film for Fluid Mechanicsmade an appeal to the French, and asked them to make a concrete commitment in situations such as those experienced by the Palestinian people today”.

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