Last week we discussed the scandal sparked by the release of a controversial film in Morocco. Now, another film has been axed in Lebanon. The reason is pretty much the same: sex.
"Help" is the tale of a teenager, Ali, who lives in a van in Lebanon. His life suddenly turns upside down when he meets Thuraya, a prostitute living with a gay man. "Help" is the first feature film by the young Lebanese director Marc Abi Rached. Lebanese authorities initially gave it the green light on two conditions: that it be restricted to viewers 18 years old or older and that an image of female genitals be blurred. The film was scheduled for release on February 19. While the preview went ahead as planned on February 12, three days before nationwide release the authorisation was suddenly revoked. "Help" has turned out to be highly controversial, not least because the lead actress, Joanna Andraos, the daughter of a Lebanese MP, appears fully naked.
Joanna Andraos, 29, is the lead actress in "Help".
Marc Abi Rached, 33, is the scriptwriter and director of "Help".
Paul Chahine, 30, works in the import industry in the capital, Beirut.
Yara Harakeh, 23, has just finished her studies in biochemistry and is now on the lookout for a job.