Has Lebanon banned ‘Wonder Woman’ over its Israeli lead actress?

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Gal Gadot in a scene from "Wonder Woman."
Updated 30 May 2017
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Has Lebanon banned ‘Wonder Woman’ over its Israeli lead actress?

DUBAI: The latest DC Comics superhero film “Wonder Woman” is set to be banned in Lebanon over its Israeli lead actress Gal Gadot, the state-run National News Agency reported Monday.
The Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade has been prompted to “take the necessary measures” to prevent the film being screened in the country, according to local newspaper The Daily Star.
According to a circulated information poster released by the ministry, on Monday it “prepared a directive for the General Directorate of Public Security to take the necessary measures to prevent the screening of this film.”
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However, despite stirring up a social media frenzy, the reported ban has yet to be enforced and when contacted by Arab News, a representative of one cinema chain in Lebanon — who spoke on condition of anonymity — said that a premiere screening has been planned, pending an official announcement.
The news follows calls from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Lebanon to ban the screening of the film due to its Israeli lead. The BDS works to end international support for Israel's treatment of Palestinians.
BDS Lebanon also took action in April 2016, when the actress played the role in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
At the time, BDS representative Dr. Abdel Malik Sukria sent a letter to Lebanon’s Ministry of Economy and Trade, highlighting Gadot’s service in the Israeli military.
“This actress served in the (Israel Defense Forces) and was crowned the beauty queen of Israel. She also revealed her support for the IDF during the last war in Gaza,” he wrote.
Despite the controversy, the film has received positive reviews in the US, with the Associated Press writing “it’s not perfect, but it’s often good, sometimes great and exceptionally re-watchable.
“Director Patty Jenkins’ film is so threaded with sincerity and goodness it’s a wonder how it got past the pugnacious minds responsible for what’s come before… Just look to the image of Gal Gadot confidently striding out alone onto an unwinnable battlefield with only a shield, a sword and a mission — and prevailing. It’s enough to give you goosebumps,” the AP’s film critic wrote.


Dubai film festival downsized to once every two years

DIFF chairman Abdul Hamid Juma, left, and the actress Q’Orianka Kilcher at the opening ceremony of the 14th International Film Festival in Dubai on December 6, 2017. (DIFF/AFP-Services)
Updated 19 April 2018
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Dubai film festival downsized to once every two years

While Saudi Arabia heralded the return of public cinemas on Wednesday night, the Dubai International Film Festival announced a “new approach” to supporting the region’s film industry while scaling back the festival to once every two years.


“With the vast changes taking place both in the regional and global movie-making and content industry, we are seeking to redefine the Dubai International Film Festival’s approach towards nurturing growth, creativity and talent,” said Jamal Al Sharif, chairman of the Dubai Film and TV Commission.

The 15th film festival will take place in 2019. More details are to be announced at a later date, DIFF organizers said in a statement.