The first full scale retrospective programme of Amos Gitai's work in his own country was launched at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque this week with the national premiere of his latest feature film, Alila.

An emotional Gitai thanked the local film industry players who congratulated him on stage. For many years, Gitai has considered himself an outcast in his own homeland because of the difficulty he had raising funds locally for his documentaries and fiction features which were often very critical of official Israeli policies.

He particularly underlined the contribution of the ARTE channel - whose executives president Jerome Clement, documentary programmes chief Thierry Garrel, international relations associate director Andre de Margerie and feature films section chief Michel Reilhac - attended the event, for their support through his period of self-imposed European exile and up to now.