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The summer comedy movie Barbie releases in some Arab countries this week.
Ending weeks of speculation about whether it would join a list of banned films in the region, Greta Gerwig’s record-breaking blockbuster is releasing in the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar today. Saudi Arabia screened the film a day earlier, on August 9.
Meanwhile, Kuwait and Lebanon have banned the release of the live-action film.
According to state news agency Kuna, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information’s committee was driven to protect “public ethics and social traditions.”
Lafy Al-Subei, the Undersecretary of the Ministry for Press and Publication, said, “The committee noted that both movies promulgate ideas and beliefs that are alien to the Kuwaiti society and public order.”
“While deciding on any foreign movie, the committee usually orders censoring of the scenes that run counter to public ethics. But [if] a film carries alien concepts, message or unacceptable behavior, the committee decides to bar the stuff in question as a whole,” Al-Subei said.
The horror flick Talk to Me was banned in Kuwait earlier this week. Directed by Danny and Michael Philippou, the movie has received acclaim globally.
Lebanon’s Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada has called for the prohibition of the film, saying it contradicts social and religious morals.
Mortada claims the film “contradicts values of faith and morality” by diminishing the importance of the family unit, Reuters reported.
In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as opposed to the global rating of PG-13, the film is rated 15+.
The UAE Media Council approved the movie after completing the “necessary procedures in line with the standards of media content and the UAE age classification.”
Barbie, featuring Margot Robbie in the title role, hit the $1 billion mark in only 17 days at the box office. It’s also the first movie directed by a woman, Greta Gerwig, to surpass the billion-dollar mark.
In June, UAE and Saudi Arabia also did not screen Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.