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Several Middle Eastern countries have refused to release The Danish Girl

the danish girl ban qatar
Focus Features
Apparently, not everyone is ready for progressive take on gender and sexuality offered up by Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl.

In the film, Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne plays Lili Elbe, the first documented recipient of sexual reassignment surgery, which has ruffled some feathers throughout the Middle East.

According to Deadline, the film was released in Qatar this past weekend, but after widespread and vociferous objections were raised on social media and through other channels, Qatar’s Ministry of Culture pulled it from theaters.

The ban was confirmed via the tweet below, adding Qatar to a long list of Middle Eastern nations that are refusing to release the film. Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates have all banned the Golden Globe-nominated picture, while Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt are notable exceptions to this regional trend.

(Translation: “We would like to inform you that we have contacted the concerned department and the screening of the Danish film is now banned from cinemas. We thank your unwavering vigilance.”)

While being banned in several countries isn’t exactly great for business, the film is in auspicious company, as several of the greatest works in the history of film, literature and other artistic mediums have been hit with the BanHammer at one time or another. In general, it’s a pretty poor strategy on the part of the censor, since human beings have been known, on occasion, to want what they can’t have.

This isn’t to say that The Danish Girl is a crowning artistic achievement (though some would argue that it is), but rather, to point out that — if you’re being banned somewhere, anywhere — it’s probably because you’re starting an important conversation, one that people are generally afraid to have.

If you’re frustrated by this news, take heart in the fact that, ban or no ban, those interested in seeing this film are probably going to find a way.

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