Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri of the film “The Attack” recently turned to Facebook to announce that the film is being banned by the Lebanese government. The film, which stems from a novel, tells the story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the perspective of an Israeli Arab surgeon living in Tel Aviv who learns that his wife carried out a suicide bombing. As a result of initially being granted permission and a permit to film the movie in Israel, the film’s production it received numerous awards at the annual COLCOA French film festival in Hollywood. The film which was expected to be released worldwide and is still planning on being released in France and the United States later this spring won following awards: the audience award, the “Coming Soon” award, and special jury prize award. However, following the film festival, the Lebanese government pulled the plug on the film by both revoking its permit and banning the film from being shown. (http://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/lebanon-film-israel-ziad-doueiri-487776)
In a post on Facebook Doueiri tells friends and followers from all over the world the news regarding his soon to debut film stating “I regret to inform you that the Interior Minister of Lebanon, Minister (Marwan) Charbel, has decided to punish us and the film by banning it… claiming that the reason for the rejection is that I, Ziad Doueiri, had spent time in Israel filming”. Doueiri also stated “this ban is foolish and unfair… Several Palestinian films have been shot in Israel with Israeli actors and even with Israeli financing … were allowed to screen in Lebanon”. (http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/lebanon-bans-award-winning-lebanese-film-shot-in-israel/2013/04/28/) In addition, Doueiri feels that by banning this film the Lebanese government is only looked upon by the people and film makers in a negative light.( http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=58398) In a statement by the by Minister Charbel “We had no problem with the movie but when we received the protest letter[from the Israel Boycott Office of the Cairo based Arab League]… we could not oppose their demand”.( http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/lebanon-bans-award-winning-lebanese-film-shot-in-israel/2013/04/28/)
I also found this article and story to be very interesting in terms of how the film industry in Lebanon operates. In Lebanon, filmmakers must submit their scripts to the government for approval to ensure that films do not display attacks against morals, attacks against state authority / government, reflect Israeli propaganda, and allows the government to block films that incite dissent as well as opposition to these guidelines. (http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/lebanon-bans-award-winning-lebanese-film-shot-in-israel/2013/04/28/)One big question when reading this article is whether the film was really banned based on the grounds that it was primarily pro – Palestinian based and negatively portrayed the Israeli’s. In my personally opinion, I feel that filmmakers, films, and movies should have the right to expose things that contradict their guidelines based on the state/government, morality, etc in their works because otherwise these events are simply covered up and kept from the people of society at the governments wishes. In addition to this, I also wonder how effective the ban on this film will actually be in the country. In majority of the cases when films are ban in any part of the world one of two things happens, the film gets more media attention than it would have received had it been shown or individuals find a way to get their hands on the film and watch it illegally.