Controversial German film THE DOWNFALL (DER UNTERGANG), which focuses on Adolf Hitler's "human side", is hitting Israeli screens just weeks after Holocaust Memorial Day (5MAY05).

Approximately 280,000 Holocaust survivors live in the troubled Holy Land, but 91 per cent of viewers who saw the film at a Jerusalem test screening approved its Israeli release.

Film distributor NURIT SHANI believes it is up to the public to decide if they want to watch the OSCAR-nominated movie.

She says, "I know there are still many for whom it will be difficult to see the human side of Hitler portrayed in a film.

"But it would have been unfair to prevent a curious and interested audience that is willing to confront the painful subject in its own way from seeing the movie."

Shani's brave decision has been slammed by Jewish human rights organisation the SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTRE.

EFRAIM ZUROFF, director of the centre's Tel Aviv office, fumes, "I would hope people will vote with their feet and prefer not to see the movie."

But Shani insists, "We can't ignore it. Furthermore, I'm not a censor. I hate censorship."

15/04/2005 17:33