Israel: Film festival crumbles under the weight of censorship

3 September 2012

The international film festival ‘Through Women’s Eyes’ is held every two years and crumbles under the weight of censorship, reported SK Eyes Media on 30 August 2012.

“Not only do the censors target this festival, they also view all movies screened during any public gatherings and other festivals in the Gaza Strip, causing great harm to the film industry,” wrote Asmaa Al-Ghoul in her article in SK Eyes Media, stating that despite a near-total absence of movie theaters in Palestine, strong censorship and the banning of films take place.

The censorship committee banned the Egyptian movie ‘Another Passion’, which was supposed to have been projected during the festival in 2011.

Leaning against a balcony, a woman talks to her love; her dress hangs loose, exposing a shoulder…
Two birds are mating…
A young woman wears shorts…
Young people dance together at a Palestinian wedding…
A man shouts at his wife…

These are examples of scenes censored by the government censorship committee during the film festival which was organized by the Women’s Affairs Center in 2011, with the participation of movies from Egypt, Lebanon, Spain, Algeria and Ramallah.


Forced to accept all remarks
Censorship began in 2009, when the censorship committee of the Ministry of Culture decided to view the movies before allowing their projection during the festival, general coordinator of the Through Women’s Eyes Festival, Etimad Washeh, told SK Eyes Media.

As general coordinator of the festival, Etimad Washeh is allowed to view the movies with the censorship committee at the headquarters of the press office. Remarks will then be sent to the festival organisers to inform them about the scenes that need to be censored. Washeh said she was forced to accept all remarks otherwise the festival would be banned. The considerable efforts to organise the festival and coordinate with Arab and foreign countries would thus be vain.

According to Asmaa Al-Ghoul, the film industry in Palestine is already extremely weak, not only because of the lack of funding, equipment and studios, but also because of the almost inexistent role of cinemas in the Gaza Strip: “Most of the movie theaters have been closed for 35 years now, and the remaining ones are either empty or have been destroyed more than once by religious groups in the 1980s and 1990s under the pretext of preserving morals and values and protecting generations to come. Some of them have also been converted into wedding venues or bat nests.”


Read the article:

SK Eyes Media – 30 August 2012
Movie Censorship inGaza: When Ideology Triumphs Over Creativity
By Asmaa Al-Ghoul

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