Lebanese Movie Banned for Explicit Sexual Content

Beirut Hotel Movie Poster

-The instigator-

I haven’t seen Danielle Arbid’s “Beirut Hotel” , but from watching the trailer, it seems to me that the film was banned from Lebanese movie theaters not for “endangering national security”, as was claimed by our ever intelligence-insulting censors, but because it features a double-whammy of a taboo: Explicit sex between a Lebanese woman and a foreign man.

I was toying with the idea that Danielle Arbid could be Lebanon’s Aliaa Mahdy , and apparently Arbid herself is not far from that thought. In her facebook page, there is only one other page that she ‘likes’: That of Aliaa Mahdy.

We all know in advance the result of Arbid’s cleverly placed bait: More Lebanese than ever will now want to watch “Beirut Hotel”. Well played Danielle..

Related: How Censorship Actually Works in Lebanon.
And: Don’t Blame the Sureté Generale for Censorship. 

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  • haissam

    I just don’t understand why so many movies are being banned/censored in Lebanon nowadays.

  • George

    peobably they banned the film because the actress family name is MEHDI and the mehdis dont have sex :)

    • Mustapha

      George, Aliaa Mahdi is from Egypt. The protagonist in the Lebanese movie is Danielle Arbid Darine Hamze.

      • Samer Nasser

        Hey Mustapha,

        Quick correction: The “protagonist”, which I assume means ‘leading actress’, in the movie is Darine Hamze, not Danielle Arbid.

        Danielle Arbid is the filmmaker, not the actress. Danielle Arbid is the director.

        I’m not sure why she does this, but Arbid gives her movies different titles in Arabic and English. For example, this movie’s title in English is “Beirut Hotel”, but in Arabic, it’s “Beirut Bil Layl”, which translates to “Beirut By Night”.

        Arbid also did this with her first feature film, which I had the privelege of watching several years ago (more on that below). That movie’s English title was “In the Battlefields”, but in Arabic its title was “Ma3arek 7ob”, which translates to “Battles of Love”.

        I watched “In the Battlefields” many years ago at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota here in the USA. I don’t know why they showed it, but a friend of mine told me about it and I tagged along.

        It was a very edgy, daring and provocative movie. Also darkly cynical and entertaining.

        It revolved around the trials and tribulations of a Maronite family with problems during the Civil War. It had all the caricatured characters: The deadbeat husband with gambling debts, the cruel, aging matriarch who loves to slap people, and of course the Syrian maid who sleeps around and plans to flee her circumstance. Even the innocent family dog gets shot in a revenge killing.

        There’s a trailer for “In the Battlefields” on YouTube, which doesn’t do nearly enough justice for the movie, but check it out regardless! :)

        I was telling someone about “In the Battlefields” a year after I saw it, and upon realizing that I had forgotten most of its details, figured I should watch it again. I looked for it in the two great repositories of movies here in the US, namely Netflix and Amazon, and couldn’t find it in either one. That’s when I realized that the movie is quite obscure, and hence it was a privelege to even get to serendipitously see it when I did.

        So yeah, who knows ? If “Beirut Hotel” is banned in Lebanon, maybe I’ll get to see it at the Walker Art Center, in Minneapolis of all places, again :):):) …

  • Wael

    I heard it was banned because it mentions Hariri’s assassination and apparently a Shiite has a DVD with important info about it…

  • Orjouane productions

    I am Danielle Arbid’s producer, and believe me, we are double censored. Some political sequences and sentences were asked to be taken out of the film, and the film was rated 18. So don’t worry we are not doing all that just to get more publicity as you are mentioning but the censorship has gone too far and we should stop it. We are doing this because people should be free to see all films and for all the free filmmakers in Lebanon!

  • Lebanon-Update

    @Orjouane productions
    How about making the movie available on the Internet for everyone to download, after it has finished in the cinemas? If profit is a concern, you could always add the option to pay with credit card.

  • Dick

    I wonder how Lebanon still bans and censors movies in the 21st century and call itself a modern country!!!.Lebanon is the number 1 Arab porn country for prostitution.Lebanon is the only country in the world that has a permanent cut in electricity!