ALESSANDRA DALY-JOHNSON WRITES – The highly anticipated film adaptation of the novel Fifty Shades of Grey was deemed inappropriate by the United Arab Emirates’ National Media Council (NMC) this past week. While the infamous book series, written by E. L. James, is available in stores in the UAE, the NMC has concluded that the 125-minute long movie would require 35 minutes’ worth of footage cuts to be considered appropriate for screening.
The regional distributor of Fifty Shades has since decided that it will not be releasing the movie, which was originally going to hit theaters on March 5. The UAE has joined Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia, who will also not be screening the movie due to its overtly sexual themes.
Fifty Shades is not the only movie to have been heavily edited or banned from Emirati theaters. The Wolf of Wall Street, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, had about 45 minutes worth of footage cut before it was released in the UAE. However, the NMC denies that it was responsible for the edits that were made, and instead the film’s distributor decided to take this measure in order to pass more conservative film censors. Viewers were left confused due to almost a quarter of the film being cut, which perhaps led some to believe that maybe a movie just shouldn’t be released if a chunk of the footage must be edited out.
This past holiday season, the biblical film Exodus: Gods and Kings was considered too controversial. Juma Obeid Al-Leem of the NMC told Gulf News: “This movie is under our review and we found that there are many mistakes not only about Islam but other religions too. So, we will not release it in the UAE.”
Paramount Pictures’ Noah met a similar fate due to religious reasons. The Associated Press quoted Al-Leem stating, “There are scenes that contradict Islam and the Bible, so we decided not to show it.”
While at first glance the UAE may seem very much Westernized, it appears that they’re not as “Curious?” as the American movie poster would like them to be.