Gay Film Censorship in Egypt


It is a pity any depiction of reality in films is met with taboos. Freedom of expressions should be exercised by all means. If written press can deal with homosexuality, at least by portraying it as it is, the same freedom should be enjoyed by film makers. One conclusion to be drawn from a call to ban the film The Yacoubian Building is that Egyptian viewers aren’t left to choose what film to watch. Cultural creativity is dictated upon them. But taking the cultural context of Egypt many scenes should be banned like belly dancing performed by an almost naked female dancer. It is “unislamic” and erotically provocative. Banning a film because it has allegedly scenes with homosexual context is like denying existing homosexuality in Egyptian society.

In the West, there are many controversial films. The latest is Da Vinci Code. It was more daring in putting into question the fundamental beliefs of the Christians. It was denounced by some. But it was shown. Believers didn’t quit church because of it. I don’t think sensible straight Egyptians will turn gays just by watching an Egyptian film which got more publicity than it should.

For respect of freedom of expression, the film should not be banned. As a compromise, on its poster there should be a “warning” to people of its homosexual content. Then cine-goers take their decision.

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