Archive | Movies

Why is Lebanon Acting Schizophrenic About Gal Gadot?

People at the censorship bureau don’t seem to be able to make up their mind about Gal Godot. Few years ago they had no problem with her appearing in movies like Fast & Furious, Batman v Superman, and Keeping up with the Joneses, until they suddenly decided to ban Wonder Woman back in May because she had the lead role in it.

Fast forward to nowadays, just as several magazines chose Godot to be on their cover for their December issues, the much anticipated “Justice League” also got banned two weeks ago because she was among its cast. I took the above photo for example at Librarie Antoine a few days ago and it’s obvious the authorities did not find anything wrong with a magazine having Gal Gadot as its main subject, so why not allow a movie starring her as well?

DVD rips of banned movies eventually end up flooding the market and it isn’t like superhero movie fans are going to miss seeing them, so it’s definitely about time the censorship bureau reconsider their role and the decisions they take.

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How Do Boycott Campaigns Work in Lebanon?

I remember at least two artists who were subject to online and offline boycott campaigns in Lebanon over the past few years due to their alleged support to Israel, Gad Elmaleh in 2009 and Lara Fabian in 2012. Gad Elmaleh was accused of serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (which wasn’t true) while Lara Fabian faced so much criticism for performing at an event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel, and civil society groups of course tried to keep the two artists from performing in Lebanon.

Fast forward to the present, Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot is scheduled to start showing across Lebanese theaters on June 1st. However, Gal Gadot is an Israeli actress and model who first appeared as Wonder Woman in Batman VS Superman last year and her upcoming movie posters have been surprisingly all around the country for a while now! That’s not just any actress supporting Israel, that’s an Israeli actress who served as a combat trainer in the Israeli Defense Forces with her posters all around Lebanon.

I’m not writing this to call for the movie boycott. I personally love superhero movies and will definitely be watching Wonder woman. However, I’ve yet to hear about any call against screening it and in this case one can’t but wonder how do civil society activists choose which artists/projects to boycott or let pass. At one point you start doubting their campaigns could be sometimes fueled by business competition… International artists are all exposed to have a connection with Israel at some point during their career, which makes it easy for anyone to criticize them for the sole purpose of provoking those who are investing their money into getting such artists to perform in Lebanon.

Anyway, the movie is showing in two days so let’s see if any cyber activists will try to take a stance against it!

Update:

I just learned the Ministry of Economy and Trade demanded the General Security to withdraw the movie from Lebanese theaters. However, the questions I raised above still stand.

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Are You Following M Media’s Growing Collection?

I subscribed to M Media a few months ago for the sole purpose of watching Bennesbe Labokra Chou again, but soon after I did it I found it hard to cancel my subscription because of their growing collection with titles that never cease to impress me. (They’re soon adding Film Ameriki Tawil by the way)

I personally usually avoid watching Lebanese movies in theaters unless they’re REALLY good, but I still like to watch them in the comfort of my living room (yes even the likes of BéBé). However unlike western movies/series, Lebanese ones are much harder to find online, and M Media has been recently making some great effort adding titles that were produced over the last few years ranging from drama to comedy and documentaries, in addition to famous old plays from the 90s such as “3ammti Najibeh” and “3arisein midreh men wein” with all content being in very good quality. So I have lately been spending time watching stuff that I missed in theater over the last few years (and also learned that Carlos Azar always lands the Jagal roles in his movies).

At $5/month I guess it’s a good deal, and while I know the people at M are doing their best to get more productions onto their platform, I wish they also add old movies from the 70s and 80s such as the ones by the late Maroun Baghdadi for example, I always read he made some great movies during that era but I rarely had access to them. I also don’t think anyone would mind watching Ahmad El-Zein and Mohamad El-Mawla all over again in those cool action movies from the early civil war days!

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