Egypt bans Marvel's ‘Eternals’ over gay kiss scene
Cairo – In a move that has angered artistic freedom advocates, Egypt has this week vetoed the release of Marvel Studios' ‘Eternals’ film over its depiction of same-sex love scenes.
The film was banned on Tuesday, one day before the long-awaited superhero movie was expected to show at cinemas in the country.
Head of the Egyptian censorship authority Ahmed Abdel-Geleel confirmed the decision to The New Arab, however declined to provide further details.
Based on a Marvel comic of the same name, the film portrays the Eternals, a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers, joining forces to fight the evil Deviants.
Marvel had reportedly stipulated that the film would be released at cinemas around the world without any scenes removed, according to international news reports.
Marvel could not be reached for comment.
Earlier last week, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman also banned the film, prompting fierce criticism from Eternals star Angelina Jolie.
“How anybody is angry about [the same-sex love], threatened by it, doesn’t approve or appreciate it is ignorant,” Jolie told Australian news outlet News.com.au during a roundtable interview.
Egyptian film critic Gamal Abdel-Kader believes that the prohibition violates artistic freedom.
“I’m totally against banning any work of art for whatever reasons. A viewer has the right to decide what to watch and what not to watch. The censorship authority cannot play the role of the guardian of morality and ethics here,” Abdel-Kader told The New Arab.
Nevertheless, films depicting explicit heterosexual and homosexual love scenes are freely available for Egyptians on streaming platforms such as Netflix.
“We are living in a new era when restricting a movie has become almost impossible. All films are available online for everybody to watch anywhere. What happened led everyone eager to watch the film that soon enough will be available online,” Abdel-Kader argued.
In Egypt, several movies Egyptian and foreign films featuring intimate scenes between people of the same sex have been cut by censors.
Almost three years ago, the Oscar-winning film ‘Bohemian Rapsody' - a biopic of legendary British singer, songwriter, and composer Freddie Mercury - was edited for release in Egypt, with censors having removed scenes depicting gay sex.
Dialogues making reference to same-sex relations, however, appear to have made it past censorship at times.
The recently-released film ‘Spencer’, based on the life of the late British Princess Diana, contains a scene depicting the princess’ dresser expressing her love for the royal figure. Surprisingly, the film is currently screened at Egyptian cinemas with the scene uncut.