Boycott or disrupt?

    ACTIVISM: Following Icelandic performance art group Hatari who made headlines at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in support of Palestinian rights.
    Director: Anna Hildur
    Producer: Anna Hildur
    Country: Iceland

    To boycott outright, or participate and endeavour to shake up the system and spark debate from within? When it comes to cultural events held in problematic political contexts, it’s an argument that has divided artists over and over — especially when it comes to Israel. The Palestine-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which has called on international artists not to play in Israel, arguing that culture is used as a soft-power tool by the Israeli state to whitewash its occupation of Palestinian lands and uphold apartheid, has strongly influenced global opinion. So when Hatari, a self-declared anti-capitalist, BDSM-inspired Icelandic band that has been outspoken in their support of Palestine decided to perform in Tel Aviv at 2019’s Eurovision Song Contest final, they drew anger and skeptical suspicion from both sides of the political divide, along with a fair share of support. Filmmaker Anna Hildur joins the band and their team as they touch down in the Middle East and try to navigate a way to artistic spectacle as meaningful solidarity and resistance in her documentary A Song Called Hate.

    Different & marginalised

    «Everything is politics,» says Mira Awad, who in 2009 became the first Palestinian (and «probably the last,» she adds regretfully) to represent Israel in Eurovision. This is a perspective on artistic practice, contradicting the event’s official stance that political statements have no place in the competition, that Hatari can readily agree with. Formed in Reykjavík in 2015, Hatari consists of cousins Klemens Hannigan and Matthías Haraldsson, along with . . .

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    Carmen Gray
    Freelance film critic and regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
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