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Banned Film News


2022

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Updated: The Lady of Heaven...

Film withdrawn from many cinemas after religious protests


Link Here17th June 2022
The Lady Of Heaven is a 2021 UK action drama by Eli King
Starring Ray Fearon, Denise Black and Christopher Sciueref BBFC link 2020 IMDb

The heart-wrenching journey of Lady Fatima, the daughter of the religious character Muhammad. Separated by 1400 years, an Iraqi child, in the midst of a war-torn country, learns the importance and power of patience. After losing his mother, the child finds himself in a new home, where a loving grandmother narrates the historical story of The Lady and how her suffering as the first victim of terror spun out of control into the 21st century.

Cineworld cinemas have cancelled all screenings of a film about the daughter of the religious character Muhammad after cinemas were picketed by Muslim activists.

Presumably fearing muslim violence, Cineworld said it took the decision to cancel all showings of The Lady of Heaven to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.

Vue Cinemas have cancelled some screenings but still seems to be showing the film in London on the south east.

The issue is that the film provides a visual representation of Muhammad, albeit CGI created, rather than being played by an actor.

A video circulating online showed the manager of Sheffield Cineworld telling protesters that Sunday night's screening had been cancelled, to cries of Allahu Akbar (God is great).

A screening in Bolton was cancelled after 100 protesters turned up at the local Cineworld branch. The chair of the Bolton Council of Mosques had urged the cancellation of the screening, claiming the film was underpinned with a sectarian ideology and is blasphemous in nature to the Muslim community.

5Pillars, a Muslim news site, tweeted a photo of what it said was 200 Muslims protesting against the film outside Cineworld in Broad Street, Birmingham on Sunday.

More than 117,000 people have signed a petition to try to get the film banned from all UK cinemas but in fact the film has already been passed 15 uncut by the BBFC, the UK film censor. The film has also been rated R by the MPA for screenings in the US.

Claire Fox, who sits in the House of Lords,  tweeted that the decision to cancel the screening showed the creep of extra-parliamentary blasphemy law was now censoring film. She wrote:

Same 'I Find that Offensive' cancel culture arguments now being used far beyond campus activism. Disastrous for the arts, dangerous for free speech, a lesson to those who argue identity politics are no threat to democracy.

Malik Shlibak, executive producer of the film, told the Guardian cinemas should stand up and defend their right to show films that people want to see:

I think cinemas are crumbling to the pressure, and taking these decisions to quell the noise. The production company had received dozens of messages from people who were trying to book tickets to see the film but not being able to.

This is an artistic endeavour talking about and elaborating on history and religion, which always has a plethora of different takes and interpretations. That's normal and healthy. We welcome this and we welcome people to express themselves, whether they're for or against the film.

What we don't support, and what we vehemently stand against, is what they're trying to do, which is to censor others and dictate what we can and cannot watch in UK cinemas.They have no right to do so and it's something very dangerous. The general population really need to be aware of this and stand up to this, because it is infringing and putting in danger their freedom of speech.

 

Offsite comment: The shameful censorship of The Lady of Heaven

 See article from spiked-online.com

 

Update: The BBFC responds to religious bullying in a statement

12th June 2022. See article from bbfc.co.uk

We classify content in line with our published Classification Guidelines, which are the result of wide-scale consultations with thousands of people from across the UK, extensive research, and more than 100 years of experience. They are updated every four to five years to ensure that our standards continue to reflect the expectations and values of people across the country.

We classified The Lady Of Heaven 15 for strong bloody violence, gory images, and threat. We provide content advice -- which we call 'ratings info' -- on our website and app for every film we classify, so that audiences can decide for themselves whether a film will be suitable for them or their families. You can review the ratings info for The Lady Of Heaven here.

On occasion, we will consider some content unsuitable for classification, in line with the objective of preventing non-trivial harm risks to potential viewers and, through their behaviour, to society. As an accountable and transparent organisation, this decision and the reasons for it will be communicated to the distributor and publicly. However, there is nothing in The Lady Of Heaven that exceeds our Classification Guidelines at 15 or deems it unsuitable for classification.

Filmmakers are free to explore historical or controversial themes and events within their films. The BBFC's role is to ensure the content is classified appropriately based on our guidelines, in order to protect children and other vulnerable groups from potential harm and to empower consumers to make informed viewing decisions.

 

Update: The Government is also unimpressed by religious bullying and sacks an organiser of the protests

12th June 2022. See article from bbfc.co.uk

An imam has been dismissed as a government adviser after backing calls for The Lady of Heaven to be banned. Qari Asim was removed from his role as an Islamophobia consultant after his role in organising protests against the film. Asim was said to have advertised a protest in Leeds, with details of its timing and location.

Supporting the campaign to limit free expression precluded him from continuing, the government said. Asim, imam of the Makkah Masjid mosque in Leeds, was told his appointment as deputy chair of the government's Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group had to end in a letter from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. It said:

Your recent support for a campaign to limit free expression - a campaign which has itself encouraged communal tensions - means it is no longer appropriate for you to continue your work with government in roles designed to promote community harmony.

He was told his actions were a clear effort to restrict artistic expression and that the campaign had led to street protests which have fomented religious hatred. The government said that on Monday Asim had posted on Facebook:

We have been working with many brothers and Imams across the country to liaise with the cinemas. Some Imams have taken a view to protest and others are in dialogue with the cinemas trying to resolve the situation.

The letter continued:

Resolving the situation, as you made clear, meant cancelling screenings. You wrote that in some places we have been successful and those cinemas will no longer be showing the movie.

We were disappointed to see that you failed to condemn some of the protests complicit in these behaviours.

 

Offiste Comment: Film bans are less about offence, more community leaders showing who's boss

10th June 2022. See article from theguardian.com by Kenan Malik

Debates about the giving of offence are rarely about offence. They are mostly about gatekeeping: that is, debates over who has the right to police communities and determine what can be said about a community and by a community.

The Lady of Heaven has already had a five-week run in the US without protest. In Britain, however, the film was seen as an opportunity for certain leaders and organisations to flex their muscles. Much of the campaign for its banning has been organised by the Muslim news website 5Pillars, its editor Roshan Muhammed Salih describing the film as shocking and disgusting and as pure, unadulterated, sectarian filth. Salih has long been a propagandist for both the Iranian regime (he was head of news for Press TV, Tehran's English language broadcast service) and the Taliban.

See full article from theguardian.com by Kenan Malik

 

Update: Muslim Action Forum calls on the BBFC to ban the Lady of Heaven

17th June 2022. See article. From 5pillarsuk.com

The Muslim Action Forum is a collective campaign group. It has called on muslims to boycott cinema chains that have shown The Lady of Heaven and has witten a letter to the BBFC calling for a ban of the film. The letter to the BBFC reads:

Dear Sir,

We write to you regarding the film Lady of Heaven directed by Eli King, that was released in Britain on 3rd June 2022 in Vue Cinemas, Cineworld and Showcase. It has been written by Yasir Al-Habib who is a prominent, extreme Shi'a cleric denounced by Muslims of all denominations including Shia. He was imprisoned in Kuwait for his hate speech, and also deported out of Iran -- denounced by them as a mad man and an illiterate fool.

The film is blasphemous, historically inaccurate, and blatantly anti-Muslim, designed to cause outrage and hatred between communities, especially between Shias and Sunnis. It has been a financial flop in the USA and in the UK as audiences have realised that it is nothing but a cheap money-making exercise at the expense of others. This is akin to showing a sectarian film about the issues in Northern Ireland where the leaders of one side are depicted as inherently evil along with their families. On this occasion the beliefs of over two billion Muslims have been deeply offended. Showcase Cinemas. Editorial credit: Amani A / Shutterstock.com

The Public Order Act 1986, quoted in your guidelines, makes it illegal to show abusive and insulting images designed to stir up racial or religious hatred. This film has been designed to create just that result. We already know after the Satanic Verses and Charlie Hebdo experiences, that it is deeply offensive to the two billion Muslims in this world to depict the image of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who is respected and revered by each and every one of us. The film offends us as it not only depicts our beloved Prophet but also portrays members of his blessed household. Whilst these noble people dedicated their whole lives in helping the sick and needy, the film depicts some of them as evil and as terrorists.

This film has been withdrawn from most cinemas after Muslims demonstrated their opposition to it and were prepared to continue to peacefully demonstrate until the film was withdrawn. We are now calling upon British Muslims to boycott all the guilty cinema chains.

The BBFC should not have given licence in the first instance, and we request to review your decision in regards this film. We are happy to assist you in any way possible in this regard, if required.

Shoaib Malik
National Co-ordinator
On behalf of Muslim Action Forum

 

 

Lightyears behind...

Many muslim countries won't be screening the new children's cartoon Lightyear


Link Here15th June 2022
Lightyear is a 2022 US children's cartoon drama by Angus MacLane
Starring Chris Evans, (voice), Keke Palmer, (voice), Dale Soules and (voice) BBFC link 2020 IMDb

The story of Buzz Lightyear and his adventures to infinity and beyond.

There are no censorship issues with this release in the west but the film has been banned in many muslim countries.

In particular the film won't be in theaters in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The issue is the presence of a gay kiss and openly LGBTQ characters in the film.

The film was originally passed by the United Arab Emirates film censors, but the film's licence was revoked after complaints on social media.

Lightyear has not been officially banned in Saudi Arabia but will not be screening due to the assumption that it would be banned were it to be submitted.

 

 

The Lady of Heaven......

Banned in Morocco


Link Here12th June 2022
The Lady Of Heaven is a 2021 UK action drama by Eli King
Starring Ray Fearon, Denise Black and Christopher Sciueref BBFC link 2020 IMDb

The heart-wrenching journey of Lady Fatima, the daughter of the religious character Muhammad. Separated by 1400 years, an Iraqi child, in the midst of a war-torn country, learns the importance and power of patience. After losing his mother, the child finds himself in a new home, where a loving grandmother narrates the historical story of The Lady and how her suffering as the first victim of terror spun out of control into the 21st century.

Moroccan film censors have banned the British film Lady of Heaven, after it was condemned by the country's religious council.

The Supreme Ulema Council said the movie was a flagrant falsification of the established facts of Islam. The council accused the film of loathsome partiality and accused the filmmakers of seeking fame and sensationalism and hurting the feelings of Muslims and stirring up religious sensitivities.

The BBC's Religion Editor, Aleem Maqbool, says the criticism centres on the the way the Shia Muslim film-maker and cleric, Yasser Al-Habib, has portrayed prominent revered figures in early Sunni Islam, implying that there are comparisons between their actions with those of the Islamic State group in Iraq.

There have been protests against the film in the UK. Egypt, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq have also denounced it.

 

 

Vue Cinemas recommend...

Rob Savage's Dashcom banned from Vue on grounds of being offensive


Link Here2nd June 2022
Dashcam is a 2021 UK/US horror by Rob Savage
Starring Annie Hardy, Amar Chadha-Patel and Angela Enahoro BBFC link 2020  IMDb

Two friends embark on a horror-fueled road trip and livestream the most terrifying night of their lives.

A new horror film is apparently considered so offensive that Vue cinemas have cancelled all scheduled screenings.

Those who had purchased tickets to see Dashcam, the new found-footage horror from director Rob Savage, were surprised when they realised screenings would no longer take place. This was brought to the attention of Savage himself, who shared an email from a Vue employee received by one customer.

Apparently @vuecinemas have canceled our screenings of DASHCAM because the movie is too offensive! If that doesn't make you want to watch this film, what will?

In the email, Vue told the customer:

Thank you for your question regarding Dashcam . I have received feedack from our staffing screen and they have decided we won't be showing Dashcam at any of our venues due to the contents of the movie, which may offend our audiences.

We at Vue believe in diversity and any movie which may offend audiences, we may decide to no longer show at the last second without notice. I'm sorry this is not the outcome you were looking for.

Vue later made an unconvincing attempt to row back on offensiveness being the reason for the ban and cited commercial reasons instead.

The BBFC rating information reveals more about offensive aspects of the film. The BBFC explains:

The protagonist expresses homophobic attitudes, including the use of discriminatory terms ('fag' and faggot'). Other discriminatory language includes 'retard, libtards and mongoloid.

A scene involves focus on human excrement after a woman soils herself in the backseat of a car.

 

 

The Kashmir Files...

Indian film banned in Singapore for unfavourable portrayal of muslims


Link Here15th May 2022
Full story: Banned Films in Singapore...To Singapore with Love
The Kashmir Files is a 2022 India historical thriller by Vivek Agnihotri
Starring Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty and Darshan Kumaar BBFC link 2020 IMDb

The Kashmir Files is a story, based on video interviews of the first generation victims of the Genocide of Kashmiri Pandit Community In 1990.

The Indian hit film The Kashmir Files has been banned in Singapore by the country's InfoComm Media Development Authority, on the grounds that it could supposedly disturb religious harmony.

The IMDA said that it had consulted with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the Ministry of Home Affairs, and that they together found the film to have exceeded the Film Classification Guidelines for its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted in the on-going conflict in Kashmir saying:

These representations have the potential to cause enmity between different communities and disrupt social cohesion and religious harmony in Singapore's multi-racial and multi-religious society.

The film was also briefly banned by the UAE film censors but the decision was reversed and the film was released uncut.

The New Zealand film censor initially passed the film R16 but this was uprated to R18 in response to muslim 'concerns'.

 

 

Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of A Serial Killer...

Film just banned in Pakistan gets a screening at the UK Asian Films Festival


Link Here 2nd April 2022
Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of A Serial Killer is a 2022 Pakistan crime thriller by Abu Aleeha
Starring Kaleem Ghori, Yasir Hussain and Rabya Kulsoom IMDb

The story of serial killer Javed Iqbal, who sexually abused and killed more than 100 children in Lahore between 1998 and 1999.

The movie Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of A Serial Killer was eagerly awaited in its native Pakistan but after a preview screening in Karachi it was abruptly pulled by the government's Central Bureau of Film Censors, despite it initially receiving censor approval. The decision was met with widespread condemnation by the film community and those who had been involved in the Javed Iqbal investigation.

A high court case is currently ongoing in a bid to retract the decision.

The film is based on writer-director Abu Aleeha's own novel Kukri . UK Asian Film Festival Founder and Director, Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry commented:

It brings to light an issue -- the abuse and mass murder of young boys -- that is of the utmost importance and yet rarely discussed. It has always been far too convenient for South Asian societies to brush such issues under the carpet but only by creating safe spaces in which to confront these issues and their root causes can we begin to create the meaningful social change we need. In that way we all owe a debt of gratitude to the creators of this film.

 

 

Married to repressive morality...

The Kenya film censor bans gay themed Indian film titled Badhaai Do


Link Here13th February 2022
Full story: Film Censorship in Kenya...Ban happy KFCB particularly for gay themese
Badhaai Do is a 2022 India comedy by Harshavardhan Kulkarni
Starring Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar and Sheeba Chaddha BBFC link 2020  IMDb

Shardul Thakur and Suman Singh enter into a marriage of gay convenience but chaos ensues when her girlfriend comes to stay with them.

The Kenya Film Classification Board (KCFB) has banned a gay-themed Indian film titled Badhaaai Do .

Sammy Wambua, the Film Board's acting Chief Executive said that the film tries to directly influence the viewer into believing that homosexuality is a normal way of life. He added:

The multiple scenes of lesbian and gay affection depicted in the film are in complete disregard of our cultural values and beliefs. The film in question overtly disregards our laws, constitution, and sensibilities as a people.


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