The Danish Girl banned in Qatar on grounds of 'moral depravity'

The government's Ministry of Culture took the decision after complaints from Islamic citizens

Jess Denham
Tuesday 12 January 2016 10:35
Eddie Redmayne plays Danish transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
Eddie Redmayne plays Danish transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

Cinemas in Qatar have banned The Danish Girl on grounds of “moral depravity” for its transgender theme.

Tom Hooper’s drama stars Eddie Redmayne as Danish painter Lili Elbe, who was one of the first to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the early 1920s.

The Danish Girl is nominated for a string of awards at upcoming ceremonies but Qatar’s government has stopped it being shown in the Islamic country.

The Danish Girl - Trailer

Some cinemas in Doha had reportedly been screening the film but when uproar began on social media and a citizen complained about it to Qatar’s Ministry of Culture, a reply read:

“We would like to inform you that we have contacted the concerned administration and the screening of the Danish film is now banned from cinemas. We thank you for your unwavering vigilance.”

Qatar Cinemas later confirmed to Doha News that it had cancelled all showings of The Danish Girl, to mixed reactions.

Some people praised the move, writing that it “contains enough moral depravity to go around the world” and “contradicts our religion, morals and traditions”, while others supported the film for “telling a true story”.

Qatar is known as a repressive nation and the decision has been fiercely protested by LGBT groups, many of whom are worried that LGBT football fans will be targeted by homophobic laws when the Fifa World Cup is held there in 2022.

Censorship is rife in Qatar with biblical films Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings among recent movies to be banned. Heavy editing is also commonplace, with nearly 50 minutes cut from The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013.

Qatar’s Northwestern University conducted a survey last year to ask whether citizens agreed with the monitoring and censorship of potentially offensive scenes. Eighty per cent said yes.

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