News Column

BRIEF: Beirut International Film Festival faces censorship

October 3, 2013


Oct. 03--BEIRUT -- The administration of the Beirut International Film Festival announced in a Thursday press release that Lebanon's censor has denied permission to screen the Lebanese short "Wahibatouka al-Moutaa" ("I Offered You Pleasure") and the French feature "L'Inconnu du Lac" (Stranger by the Lake). The 13th edition of the festival commenced Wednesday evening and will close October 10.

Written and directed by 26-year-old Farah Shaer, the 15-minute-long "I Offered You Pleasure" was meant to have its Lebanon premiere in BIFF's Middle East Short Film Competition. It has participated at such prestigious film festivals as France's Clermont-Ferrand festival of short film and the Busan International Film Festival, in South Korea.

The short tells the story of Imane, a devout Muslim woman who courts controversy in her community by making use of the institution of "temporary marriage" to "gather blessings" for her late husband. Then her neighbor's teenage son threatens to expose her activities, unless Imane does him a service.

Programmed for BIFF's non-competitive Panorama section, Alain Guiraudie's "Stranger by the Lake" tells the story of a dangerous same-sex relationship between two young men. -- The Daily Star


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