The Turkish language version of World War Z, the recent blockbuster adapted from the 2006 apocalyptic horror novel by Max Brooks, has made headlines by removing all references to the Jewish state of Israel from the film’s plot and dialogue.
Fans of the book will be familiar with the intrinsic role the state of Israel plays as a global zombie pandemic sets in. Israel’s neighbours and indeed the wider world fail to fare as well as the Jewish state during the crisis. This has led some critics to describe the film as “the greatest piece of cinematic propaganda for Israel since Otto Preminger’s ‘Exodus'”.
Writing in the Times of Israel, Jordan Hoffman says that “While the rest of the world has fallen to cinders, Israel survives. After Pitt’s plane narrowly escapes doom during a bloody action set piece, he touches down at Atarot Airport. The Israeli flag, shown in glorifying closeup, ripples proudly in a sun-dappled halo.”
The film’s official release date, according to IMDB, is today and cinema-goers around the world are likely to be flocking to cinemas to experience the movie, which is also being shown in 3D. However, viewers in Turkey are likely to experience a slightly different film.
According to an Istanbul-based film critic, one of the film’s critical elements is glossed over or erased. Blogger and critic Ali Arkan noticed that the Turkish subtitles make no reference to Israel and Jerusalem is referred to simply as “Middle East”.
Arkan tweeted in Turkish on Tuesday at UIP Turkiye, the Paramount and Universal joint venture that released the film in Turkey. He asked why the film changed references to Israel to “Middle East”. He tweeted in English: “All mentions of Israel are translated as “Middle East” in the Turkish subtitles for WORLD WAR Z. Even when they’re in Jerusalem. Bizarre.”
According to the Times of Israel, Turkish film critic Ali Arikan was told that the zombie flick’s translation and subtitles came that way from the stiffs at Paramount Pictures. A contact at Paramount said he was “unable to go on the record to discuss local translations.”
View the film’s trailer below.