The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised filmmaker Alexandre Arcady for his critically acclaimed film “24 Days” and its harrowing retelling of the murder of Ilan Halimi, the French Jewish youth who was held captive and tortured in Paris by a group of African and North African immigrants in a heinous anti-Semitic attack.
Winner of the Lia Award at the 2014 Jerusalem Film Festival, the film is based on a memoir written by the victim’s mother. It documents the agonizing 24 days during which Halimi, a cellphone salesman, was held captive while his family received a series of messages from the kidnappers seeking a hefty ransom. The kidnappers believed Halimi’s family was wealthy because they are Jewish.
“The brutal torture and murder of Ilan Halimi was in many ways the first warning sign that something was seriously amiss in France and that anti-Semitism among some in the Arab immigrant community had reached a boiling point,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “This film offers a harrowing retelling of the anti-Semitic murder that shocked the conscience of the French nation and served as a harbinger of the shattering anti-Semitic incidents we witnessed in France last year. It is a reminder of both the enduring power of anti-Semitic myths, and of what can happen when bystanders fail to speak out and raise their voices when they encounter racism and anti-Semitism.”
In the film, Ilan Halimi’s mother, Ruth, recalls the 24 nightmarish days in January and February 2006 during which she and her ex-husband, Didier, received nearly 700 phone calls, ransom demands that never ceased to change, insults, threats and photos of their tortured son.
Despite all attempts to save their son, Ilan Halimi was ultimately thrown out of a car and left for dead on the side of the road.
Distributed by Menemsha Films, “24 Days” is currently playing in theaters across the United States and is available for download on iTunes. Menemsha has announced that a portion of the film’s proceeds will be contributed to ADL.