SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Lebanon censors films over homosexuality and temporary marriage

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Sunday , 06 October 2013

Lebanon has censored a French film depicting homosexuality and a local short film about the tradition of temporary marriage among some Shiite Muslims, film festival organizers said Thursday.

The Beirut International Film Festival said it had been informed by censors that 'L'inconnu du lac' (Stranger by the Lake), a thriller by Alain Guiraudie about two men who fall in love after meeting at a cruising spot for gay men along the shore of a lake.

The other film is "I Offered You Pleasure," by 26-year-old Lebanese director Farah Shaer. It deals with the controversial subject of temporary marriage, or "pleasure marriage," a tradition among some Shiites that opponents view as an excuse for sex outside of conventional wedlock, otherwise forbidden by Islam.

A security official said the censorship board, which is attached to the interior ministry, had concluded the two films did "not meet its criteria" and that the minister would make a final decision on them.

Despite unbridled access to media via the Internet and the widespread pirating of DVDs, censors in multi-sectarian Lebanon ban all artistic works they believe incite sectarian strife, undermine morals or state authority, or which further "Israeli propaganda."

Lebanon also respects a region-wide boycott of the Israeli arts enforced by the Arab League.

Earlier this year, Beirut censored Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri's award-winning film "The Attack" because it was partly shot in Tel Aviv with Israeli actors.

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