The government of Qatar has banned Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl, pulling it from cinemas on Monday after its scheduled release at the weekend. The film, which stars Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe, one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery, caused an online uproar over what one Twitter user deemed “moral depravity,” according to the Doha News. Qatar’s Ministry of Culture confirmed the ban on Twitter after contacting cinemas on Monday. It thanked its followers for their “unwavering vigilance” in the tweet below:
نفيدكم علماً بأنه تم التواصل مع الإدارة المعنية وتم منع عرض الفيلم الدنماركي في شاشات السينما ونشكر حرصكم الدائم
— وزارة الثقافة (@mocqatar) January 11, 2016
(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.”)
Reaction to the ban was mixed in the Gulf state, with some on Twitter supporting the government’s move and others disagreeing, noting the film is based on a true story. Universal is releasing the Working Title production overseas where, through Sunday, it had earned $6.83M in 10 markets.
As for other Middle East countries, the film did not pass the censors in Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain or Jordan. The UAE was expected to screen it, but we understand has since opted out. Releases in Israel and Egypt are on deck.
It has already gone out in Lebanon which has likewise previously accepted such films as Borat, Fifty Shades Of Grey, Noah and Exodus: Of Gods And Kings contrary to much of the region. The latter two were banned in 2014 by Qatar and many others on religious grounds.
The fates of two upcoming films which could provoke Middle East censors, the lesbian-themed Freeheld and Carol, are currently unknown. Freeheld is understood to still be under consideration by the UAE while Carol will be submitted this week.