28 January, 2006

Ban Brokeback Mountain in the UAE?

I have been reading articles in 7days recently about whether the movie "Brokeback Mountain" should be released to cinemas here. Here and here are some letters sent in by readers. After chewing on it for a while, here's my two cents. If the movie makes it to the cinemas here in the UAE then I am going to go watch it. Anyone who wants to come and blow up the cinema is welcome to do so. And if people don't want to see this movie, then that's fine with me...there are at least 8 other movies playing in any cinema that you are welcome to watch. If the movie doesn't make it to the cinemas here, then I am going to get it on DVD. As an expat living in a Muslim country, I can understand why this movie would cause a stir if it was filmed here (images of people squatting at Deira City Centre come to mind). However, what I don't appreciate are the numerous people who feel that this country would go straight to hell if this movie was screened here. What is wrong with you all? It is just a movie. After reading the letters in 7days, I was really appalled at the ignorance of some people:

"As Muslims, we should not be scared of gay people. I am trying to learn to hate the sin and not necessarily the person. After all their lifestyle often involves abuse of any and all substances as well as sexual experiences.
I guess many of them have been born into a system of abuse and perpetuate the same cycle of along to their victims. They regularly contract strange diseases that are further mutated by their abundant substance abuse.
Often they evolve in to paedophiles (majority have had homosexual experiences). They are outcast by their own people and exist only in the "politically correct" illusion of the free society that must tolerate them as a result of their precious value system.
I think the true fear and disgust amongst Muslims is that the West would rather embrace and glorify this putrid, hedonistic, terminally ill group of people rather than us.
If "Brokeback" is such an invaluable piece of art, then go to the closest travel agent, buy yourself a ticket, fly back to your "free country" and indulge. Then return for the crime free, luxurious environment. I guess I still hate them... "

Wasim, UAE

Mr Wasim, I wonder which outdated encyclopedia you're reading to get your facts. But just to save you some time, I'm going to explain the facts above which I've highlighted in bold:
1) I cordially invite you to my house, where you will find me in perfect health, physically and mentally, and with no needle marks on my arms or anywhere else. So pardon me for pointing out that myself and other people don't indulge in any substance abuse. Although, I must admit that I am addicted to Cadbury's Hot Chocolate Drink.
2) I was not 'born into a system of abuse'. I am what I am because that is how I came into this world. I was not spanked, caned, whipped, or slapped when I was a child. This is how I was made - accept it. And no, I don't have any victims - I'm not a vampire in case you didn't know.
3) If you want to see terminally ill people, then there are institutes you can go to where you can see just how different life is for a terminally ill person. Don't ever make that sort of comparison to anyone again.


samuraisam said...

you can read my feelings about this debate here

The censors are apparantly watching it now, no one has said it is going to be banned, it was just a misconception by the readers of 7days initiated by someone asking if it was going to be shown or not.
Personally after watching the movie, inbetween the idiots that seem to be in every cinema in Dubai, and the amount the movie will be censored, I honestly wouldn't bother, wait for it on DVD, though I doubt they'll release it on DVD locally within Dubai, so get your MasterCard's out and order it through amazon/whatever.

nick said...

B&B gives me a hernia. I totally agree with you on how a show like that can be shown on TV. It was pulled off the air when OneTV launched, and then was brought back after people wrote in saying they missed watching their half hour of crap.

I am getting Brokeback Mountain on DVD as soon as it is out online. But, I would like to watch it in the cinemas here first, regardless of how much is censored out.

samuraisam said...

The movie is about a 7/10, think any movie where anyone is persecuted, like Forrest Gump, or any movie with prejudice towards a group of people, whether racial, sexual, physical/mental disorders (that is not saying homosexuality is mental disorder, tis a reference towards forrest gump), there isn't actually a clear ending to the movie imho. Just a movie, nothing over the top special.

samuraisam said...

also, should mention the censorshit will take away a few scenes which may/may not be crucial to the story line, I can't guess how people would watch it without the scenes involved, but i've watched movies in dubai that've been cut to peices by censors, and then watched them again in other countries and the meaning/story usually doesn't change more than 3 percent.

mohamed Elzubeir said...

I really don't care for the movie. I am not a homophobe and neither am I one to advocate gay rights. I think all people are equal, period. No need to point to people that I am straight or that someone else is gay. That is none of anyone's business.

Now, the movie itself does not sound like my cup of tea (since it is neither a comedy or an action/thriller -- and those are the only kinds of movies I would watch in a movie theater, unless Al Paccino or De Niro is in it.. then the rules break).

Having said all that, I really don't care if it is shown or not. I think it would be stupid not to show it, if so many people want to see it (it's all economics!). If the theater will be sold out, then bring it on.

Besides, those anti-gay folks should get off their high horses and quit watching Will & Grace and others. Come on!

samuraisam said...

mohammed, one has to wonder if someone from the cinema themselves didn't write in the initial letter that sparked this whole debate, rest assured that everyone who reads 7days would've heard about this movie, and will want to experience it for themselves.

Neglected-ism said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Neglected-ism said...

Ouch, that letter was harsh. I am very strongly against people voicing such strong opinions ('born into a system of abuse'), without thinking of the other person's feelings. Like Zubeir said, treat everyone equally. We all do what we do because we believe it's the best for us, or that it makes us happy. So let it be. God will judge us and let Him do so; we shouldn't be the ones pointing fingers at other people's backgrounds or actions.

This discussion reminds me of the time I recommended 'Passion of The Christ' and then these hordes of radical-thinkers came lashing at me. Why can't people just be objective. Watch it for what it is, not for what you want it to be.

If you don't like it, you may go to bed =)

scarlettepimp said...

dear nicholas, people like wasupwasim suffer from denial. fortunately my experiences as a faghag has enabled me to conclude that straight boys/men with hatred towards gays are indeed gay. they actually hate themselves. my dirham on the subject is that i know many straight boys/men, some even married that sleep with gay men and later rant on how they hate them. nicholas you with me on this one? say amen.

Samawel said...

Here's the thing, as someone who actually read the story and guards the book well from damage. It's a pretty good story--I think it would do really well as a film too.

But the censors here in the country would not keep their hands off the movie, particularly because of the sex.

I would still watch it anyways. (this is coming from someone who hates watching movies that have scenes cut of due to censorship because it ruins so much.)

Second, I think it would be a great idea to expose the general public here of the story, for one main reason, what happens in the story also happens with people here. I wont start analyzing the story. Maybe I'd write a bit in my blog after I actually do watch the movie.

But I'm all for it as a movie. I'm definitely going to watch it.

nick said...

AMEN! (that was for scarlettpimp..we need to meet!)

I agree that quite large chunks of the movie will be cut out..having read in-depth reviews of this movie, a lot of the scenes would be chucked out. That being said, I agree with what neglected-ism said - when "Passion of the Christ" was going to come out, SO many people started complaining about how a movie with such a strong Christian theme could be released here. Isn't Dubai all about tolerance? The movie was eventually shown, and hundreds went to see it, Christians and non-Christians alike. Brokeback Mountain is exactly like that - you don't have to be gay to watch this film. Describing it as a "gay cowboy flick" would be a total understatement. I repeat what I said on a blog recently: This movie shows us that despite the passage of time, two people can share a love that will never grow old.

nick said...

Another thing I wanted to mention, "Queer as Folk Season 1" was available at Virgin Megastore in December, and I was absolutely thrilled as I only needed to buy Season 1 to complete my collection. Imagine my surprise when I went back to the store 3 days later to find out that all the DVDs had been pulled off the shelves. If you're going to stock an openly gay drama series on your store shelves, then at least put a little sign that says "For Display Purposes Only"

Anonymous said...

Note to self:
try Cadbury's Hot Chocolate Drink

nzm said...

The book - Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx - will make you cry.

It's a love story through and through - written by a straight woman, now in her 70s who saw that love comes in many different forms.

Here are a couple of links that are interviews with Annie Proulx. The first is from a LGBT site, so I don't know if all of the UAE can see it.

Annie's Interview with Advocate.com

Annie's Interview with Softpedia.com

Husain said...

If the movie is banned here, there is a fairly high chance that it will be confiscated by the customs if ordered online. It is better to ask someone to bring it for you.

samuraisam said...

only if you order it through amazon (:

nick said...

It is better to ask someone to bring it for you.
Ahem Ahem =) I've asked Magrudy's if they can order the book for me..I've also got my heart set on "A Home at the End of the World" another brilliant book now made into a film.

A Yahya said...

Brokeback *yawn* Mountain is definately one to avoid and they will be doing the UAE favor by not showing it here. It looks like nothing more than soft porn for women.

Your better of secretly downloading a copy of Syriana or Munich if you have the need to see something controversial and banned/censored.

And Scarlette dear.. if your str8 male friends are sleeping with other guys , trust me, they are not str8 :P

Anonymous said...

Great post, Nicholas. I also cannot believe how ridiculously homophobic people in this country are. Get with it folks - there are gay people all around you, and they're perfectly normal (even if they are forced into the closet), no matter how many reports of "sexually deviant" behaviour reports Khaleejtimes likes to glorify in its tabloid filled garbage.

If you don't want to watch the movie because you don't agree with the subject matter, then take your money to more childfare like Hoodwinked or some crappy, gory, sexually explicit horror flick that UAE cinemas have no problem showing. Ang Lee is a masterful, subtle director and to call anything he makes "disgusting" means that you have no appreciation for good films. I've seen BBM. If you like independent, thought-provoking and beautifully crafted films, then do yourself a favor and get the DVD when it comes out.

Anonymous said...

If the movie will be banned in UAE so don't buy the DVD they will catch it when it will arrive to UAE, because they investigate the DVDs contents.

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