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'Waltz with Bashir' won't be screened in Lebanon

Oscar-nominated film "Waltz with Bashir," about the Sabra and Shatila massacres, cannot be shown in Lebanon because of the country's boycott of Israeli products, the information minister said on Thursday.

Ari Folman's animated picture has already won the Golden Globe for best foreign film and was on Thursday nominated for the Oscar for best foreign language film.

Asked whether "Waltz with Bashir" would be screened in Lebanon, Tarek Mitri told reporters: "According to existing law it is illegal to import the film or to project [it]."

The minister, who opposes censorship and has in the past proposed a law to abolish it," said the ban on the film is "absurd because you can download it and see it on You Tube."

"We need to abolish that law so that we can see films like this and any other films and then, if you abolish the censorship law we have, then whoever is harmed can take the matter to court."

Folman, a former Israeli soldier who took part in the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, used animated images of the war in his autobiographical documentary.

Haunted by the memories of the massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, the hero Ari sets off on a quest for a past he cannot remember.

"It is a shame that a film critical of Israel is not allowed in Lebanon, especially as it covers a crucial period in history for Lebanese, Palestinians and Israelis," said Monique Borgmann, head of Lebanese voluntary group UMAM.

"I am receiving lots of calls from people who want to see the film," said Borgmann, whose group focuses on the collective Lebanese memory, particularly about the Lebanese civil war.

UMAM organized a private showing and invited 30 people but, as the film had won a Golden Globe, 90 people turned up to see it, she said.

Last year the animated film "Persepolis", about the Islamic revolution in Iran, was forbidden by the Lebanese censorship body before being approved in the wake of public pressure. 

-AFP

  • Lebneniyeh

    Tarek Mitri is trying to show the boycott of Israel as a regressive movement and should be ashamed of himself and first learn the difference between boycott and censorship. Censorship is when you ban ideas from reaching people. This can be through speech, writing or movies. No one (except maybe people who are associated with the 1982 events - which is not the excuse Tarek Mitri gives) is against showing Waltz with Bashir if the version that is shown is a pirated version. Tarek Mitri needs to learn the difference between the censorship of Persepolis and the boycott of Waltz with Bashir. In the first there is a censorship of an idea, in the second there is a boycott of an economic exchange whereby an israeli benefits from the purchase of rights for the movie to be played in theaters in lebanon. If Espace or any other cinema wants to show a pirated version then I will be the first to go. When we have leaders in our society who are ignorant it is no wonder we end up with de

    January 26, 2009

  • Really!!!!!!

    I aleready saw some clips on Youtube -

    January 22, 2009