*OUTSTANDING POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTARY* - Emmy Awards
*BEST DOCUMENTARY* - Jerusalem International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival
CPH:DOX -- Copenhagen International Documentary Festival
Chicago International Film Festival
"The film transcends its nominal subject, football, and explores the issues of racism, mob mentality and abuse of power." - Jury of the Jerusalem Film Festival
"We present an Honorable Mention in the Jewish Experience category to "Forever Pure" by Maya Zinshtein. Her courageous and disturbing first film documents the destructive powers of hatred and incitement, as they threaten Jewish and democratic values in contemporary Israel." - Jewish Experience by Yad Vashem - The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
'Uses a sports team’s terrible season as a metaphor for the ugly side of a part of Israeli society and the complex ways in which a seemingly innocent game can be used by demagogues to not only reach but especially influence the masses. It’s a scary sight to behold but thanks to Zinshtein’s talent, it’s also frighteningly insightful.' - Hollywood Reporter
"Compelling and unsettling... Beitar Jerusalem’s meltdown holds up a mirror to the wider society. And what it reveals is not pretty." - Screen International
Beitar Jerusalem F.C., the most popular and controversial football team in Israel, is the only club in the Premier League never to have signed an Arab player. Used openly as an organ for the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu parties on the right, the nationalism of its large fan base and racism of its most hard core contingent, La Familia, had been stoked from and condoned by the highest levels of government, by figures such as Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's Prime Minister, and Avigdor Lieberman, it's former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current Minister of Defense, who regularly attended its matches.
Mid-way through the 2012-13 season, a secretive transfer deal by the owner, Russian-Israeli oligarch Arcadi Gaydamak, brought two Muslim players from Chechnya to the team. Despite not resembling Arabs in any way other than their religion, the Chechens were greeted with intense hatred by La Familia, which inspired the most racist campaign in the history of Israeli sport and sent the club spiraling out of control. For the simple action of welcoming the new players, the team's religious, Jerusalem-born captain went from hero to enemy overnight, and La Familia would not relent in its vitriol and death threats until running him out of town. The stage was set for a new nationalist hero to emerge from the team, and one player seized the opportunity publicly. The walkouts, boycotts, and banners with slogans eerily echoing those used against the Jewish people in Europe a few generations before, demonstrate how quickly and decisively an extremist fringe can take control and sweep their more numerous, passive allies along.
Forever Pure tracks this shocking season of Israel's most famed club, and uses it as a window to reveal deep insights into Israeli society, money, and politics, and how racism is destroying the society from within.
85 minutes, in Hebrew with English subtitles. 2016
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