Arts&Culture

Lebanon bans Spielberg's 'The Post'

Lebanon bans Spielberg's 'The Post'

The company distributing the film in Lebanon confirmed that the film, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, would be released in cinemas in Beirut and elsewhere on Thursday.

"The Post" had been barred because of ties between the film's director, Steven Spielberg, and Israel. Most of Spielberg's films since 2006 have been released in Lebanon, although his name was blacked out on posters advertising 2011's The Adventures of Tintin.

The commercially successful Wonderwoman was banned because it starred Gal Gadot, who served the Israeli military.

The Hollywood giant was blacklisted by the Cairo-based pan-Arab body after he donated $1 million to Israel during the 2006 war between the Jewish state and Lebanon.

Steven Spielberg's latest film The Post will be shown on screens in Lebanon this week after prime minister Saad Hariri intervened to overrule a prospective ban.

"We think this is not the right decision", he said.

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"We are glad and pleased that justice, reason, and love of cinema has prevailed", the spokesman said, adding that he wanted to "thank everyone involved in the strong, united large popular support movement", including press, bloggers, and other opinion-makers who rallied in support of "The Post" after news of the ban broke.

"Why is The Post on the chopping block?" asked Gino Raidy of advocacy group March, on his blog. It seems that anything remotely connected to Israel can get banned in Lebanon.

Spielberg "is blacklisted by the Arab League's boycott office, which Lebanon complies with", the official explained. Jungle isn't an Israeli movie, but it does star Daniel Radcliffe portraying the real-life story of Yossi Ghinsberg, an Israeli tourist who was lost in the Amazon jungle for several weeks in 1981 and survived despite overwhelming odds. Israel occupied large areas of southern Lebanon between 1978 and 2000.

Lebanon is officially at war with Israel and has a decades-old law that boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from traveling or having contacts with Israelis.

Lebanon is divided on the boycott-driven bans, with some welcoming them as a bulwark against the "cultural normalisation" of Israel's occupation.


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