RIYADH: As several countries in the Arab world like Lebanon and Kuwait took measures to ban ‘Death on the Nile’ for starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, Saudis got to line up for the film in their newly opened, minted cinemas.
This isn’t the first time that Gadot, who went through the mandatory Israeli Defence Forces military training, or films starring Israelis or directed by Israelis, gets banned in some Arab countries, specifically those with close ties to Iran.
“Wonder Woman,” “The Post,” and “Schindler’s List” are among the more famous movies that people have been prevented from seeing.
“The fact of the matter is that if you have a problem with the content of a movie, the actor or actress leading it or anything pertaining to it. Simply don’t go watch it. Call for a boycott, but you sure as hell have no right in making sure no one else gets to watch it too,” blogger Elie Fares said when “The Post” was banned.
While Saudi Arabia has no diplomatic ties with Israel, and consistently condemns its aggression on Palestinian soil and throughout its war in Gaza, the Kingdom differentiates between what is seen as a fun film or a work of art and what Hezbollah loyalists decry as Israeli propaganda and ways the IDF gets funded.
“Let’s face it, ‘Death on the Nile’ may be banned by Hizballah authorities in Lebanon, but it will soon be the most popular streamed or downloaded movie in all of Lebanon,” tweeted reporter and analyst Oubai Shahbandar.
Let’s face it , ‘Death on the Nile’ may be banned by Hizballah authorities in Lebanon , but it will soon be the most popular streamed or downloaded movie in all of Lebanon. https://t.co/2A2VcVu9l4
— Oubai Shahbandar (@OS26) February 12, 2022
The whodunnit classic — adapted from one of Agatha Christie’s most popular books — was directed by Kenneth Branagh and stars himself, Armie Hammer, and Gadot among others.
According to Kuwait’s Al-Qabas newspaper, the decision was taken following demands on social media for the film to be banned.
Social media users pointed to Gadot’s praise of the Israeli army and her criticism of Hamas during the 2014 war in Gaza.