Lebanon: Award-winning film banned for being shot in Israel

14 May 2013

Lebanese authorities have banned the award-winning film ‘The Attack’ from cinemas in the country because it was partly shot in Tel Aviv using Israeli actors.

“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,” the Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri wrote in a statement on his Facebook page:

Click to go to Ziad Doueiri’s Facebook page

“To set things straight, I did shoot part of the film in Tel Aviv because this is where part of the story takes place. I used Israeli actors because also these were the artistic choices that I have made. And I have no regret and no apologies whatsoever.”

The film received three awards at the COLCOA French film festival in Hollywood — the audience award, the “Coming Soon” award and a special jury prize. It is due for release in May in France and in June in the United States. It was adapted from a novel by Algerian writer Yasmina Khadra and portrays the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of an Israeli doctor who discovers that his wife carried out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

Al Arabiya noted that “Censorship is enforced in Lebanon by the interior ministry if an artist’s work is considered to incite confessional dissent, attacks morals or the authority of the state or reflects Israeli propaganda. Filmmakers in Lebanon must also submit their scripts to the authorities for approval.”

Al Arabiya – 28 April 2013:
Beirut bans award-winning Lebanese film shot in Israel
An award-winning film “The Attack” by Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri has been banned from cinemas in his home country because it was partly shot in Tel Aviv using Israeli actors.

Doueiri Ziad’s official facebook page:

UPDATE • 14 May 2013:

‘The Attack’ banned in almost every Arab country

Director Ziad Doueiri hoped his movie ‘The Attack’ might start meaningful conversations about terrorism, especially in the Middle East, where the film is set. Instead, the Lebanese-born filmmaker has seen his drama banned in almost every Arab country, reported Los Angeles Times.

Doueiri, whose film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last year, said “The Attack” was scheduled to roll out in nearly two dozen Arab countries in the weeks ahead of its U.S. premiere on June 21. But last week he said the League of Arab States, also known as the Arab League, asked all of its 22 member nations to boycott the film.

Read the full story here:

Los Angeles Times – 14 May 2013:
Arab nations ban ‘The Attack’ from exhibition
By John Horn

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