Lebanon’s General Security bans Oscar-nominated “The Man Who Sold His Back” from showing


On the eve of his Lebanese show this evening, Sunday, November 21, 2021, in the framework of the 7th session (18-28 November 2021)Beirut Art Film FestivalThe Technical Works Control Authority, affiliated to the General Directorate of Public Security in Lebanon, decided to referThe man who sold his back(2020), by Tunisian Kawthar Ben Hania, to its “Auditing Committee”, without announcing the reason for this, “to decide on the final position of General Security on the film.”

The management of the festival, whose films will be shown in this new version at the Mono Theater (Beirut), said that it will announce a new date for the screening in light of this “final position”. Al-Araby Al-Jadeed tried to contact the festival’s curators, but did not receive a response.

The film, which was officially nominated for the Oscar for Best International Film in the 93rd edition (April 25, 2021), tells the story of a young Syrian man who falls in love with a young woman and wants to marry her, but her family marry her to a Syrian diplomat who works at his country’s embassy in Brussels. After his arrest due to a passing statement to him, it was revealed from him that with the Syrian revolution, he managed to escape and reach Beirut, and he met a Western artist who suggested that he “sell” his skin to him in order to paint on it a painting consisting of a travel visa. He promised him a European tour, and he agreed, with the aim of meeting his lover Belgium.

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The film’s story is based on various questions about immigration, identity, love, relationships, art, commerce, and the style followed in works of art. Style tends to create unexpected situations in painting. But the Syrian young man, after a clash with the diplomat because of his love, rather his adoration for his girlfriend, discovers lies and deception in the world of art, and in the trade accompanying it, and decides to return to his country with his girlfriend, who breaks the family chain for her heart. Note that it has become a painting that can be sold to anyone interested in it, and he must implement the agreed upon in this regard.

It accuses the Lebanese censor of being “subject to a military security thinking that protects various censors in the country, affiliated with the sects that control everything,” according to its critics, pending the outcome of the “judgments” of this audit committee.


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