Beirut Hotel censored in Lebanon

BEIRUT: Lebanese director Danielle Arbid’s latest film, “Beirut Hotel,” has been banned from Lebanon because it mentions the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a General Security source told The Daily Star.

The source said that before shooting the movie, the filmmakers of “Beirut Hotel” agreed to omit Hariri’s name from a line in the script that mentioned a killing. The source continued that the line, which he said both General Security and the Information Ministry’s censorship committee objected to, was included in the final version of the film.

On Friday, two messages were posted by the Facebook page “Danielle Arbid Films,” saying the director had “just been notified” that “Beirut Hotel” “cannot be shown in Lebanon.”

The messages say that the film had originally been scheduled for a Jan. 19, 2012 release in Beirut, but the release has been “cancelled.” “The censorship committee argued that ‘the film would endanger Lebanon’s security,’” the posts say, requesting that readers “please spread the news and mobilize against middle ages censorship in Lebanon. I need your support.”

A message posted Saturday by “Danielle Arbid Films,” said that “I want “Beirut Hotel” in Beirut cinemas! And I’ll battle for it.”

Arbid’s posts have attracted significant attention, both on Facebook, Twitter, and various blogs.

The General Security source said it had documents bearing the signatures of the filmmakers agreeing to remove the line that was deemed objectionable.

The feature-length film, which stars Darine Hamze, will screen at the Dubai International Film Festival Monday. According to a synopsis posted on DIFF’s website, the movie centers on a romance between a Lebanese singer and a French attorney whose company works in Syria and is accused of spying.

Attempts to reach the producers of “Beirut Hotel” were unsuccessful.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 12, 2011, on page 16.




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