Documenta 15 advised to ban pro-Palestine films

Documenta 15 is currently in progress in Kassel, Germany and has been engulfed in a censorship row.

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An advisory group for Documenta 15, an art exhibition, has recommended censoring films that cover and explore the tumultuous history of Palestine. The group said their most important task was to stop the films being shown at the festival, which continues until September 25. 

The films in question belong to a film series called Tokyo Reels, which are restored films by a collective called Subversive Film. The collective’s main goal is to highlight and showcase “the overlooked and still undocumented anti-imperialist solidarity between Japan and Palestine”, as described on the Documenta website.

The artistic committee, which includes Tate Modern’s Frances Morris, has strongly condemned the advice to ban Tokyo Reels. 

documenta 15 protest

Pro-Israel protest took place near Documenta 15. Credit: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Their statement says: “The pressures that media and politicians have placed on the entire Documenta team have become unbearable. We want to defend their extraordinary hard work and commitment with this statement.”

Tokyo Reels was screened on September 14, but according to The Art Newspaper a full decision on whether or not to ban the films will be determined later this week. 

The advisory council called the films “pro-Palestinian propaganda” and said they’re filled with “filled with antisemitic and anti-Zionist set pieces”.

Documenta 15 was also accused of antisemitism in January when German media and local politicians noted the number of pro-Palestine and pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, a Palestenian-led movement against Israel, focused works. As a result, Sabine Schormann, the head of the quinquennial exhibition, was terminated. 


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