Theaters in Qatar have said they have no plans to screen a new blockbuster Hollywood film about the prophet Moses and Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses.
The movie, “Exodus: God and Kings,” which stars Christian Bale and Sir Ben Kingsley, has already been banned in Morocco, Egypt (where the movie is set) and the UAE.
This week, the UAE’s director of Media Content Tracking at the National Media Council said that the film contained “many mistakes not only about Islam but other religions too,” Gulf News reports.
For its part, Egypt took issue with how Jews were portrayed in the movie, among other things. Citing a statement from the Egyptian Culture Ministry, AP reports:
“Censors objected to the ‘intentional gross historical fallacies that offend Egypt and its pharaonic ancient history in yet another attempt to Judaize Egyptian civilization, which confirms the international Zionist fingerprints all over the film.’
The ministry said the movie inaccurately depicts ancient Egyptians as ‘savages’ who kill and hang Jews, arguing that hanging did not exist in ancient Egypt. It said the film also presents a ‘racist’ depiction of Jews as a people who mounted an armed rebellion. The ministry said religious scriptures present Jews as weak and oppressed.”
Speaking to Doha News, a representative of Qatar Cinema Co., which shows movies at Landmark Mall, Royal Plaza and “Al Mall” said the movie has also been banned here, but she was unsure why.
An employee of Novo Cinemas at the Pearl-Qatar also told Doha News that the theater would not be screening the film, but added that no reason has been provided so far for the ban.
The move doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as Biblical movies are particularly sensitive here and in other conservative Muslim countries, due to the Islamic objection of portraying prophets onscreen.
Still, Qatar has had a mixed record in this regard.
In March, it decided not to screen Noah, saying the movie contradicts “the teachings of Islam,” according to Paramount Pictures.
That film told the story of the great flood from the Book of Genesis, in which Noah builds an ark to save his family and thousands of animals from the waters. Noah is revered as a prophet by Muslims, Christians and Jews.
However, Qatar did show “The Passion of the Christ” about Jesus in 2004.
And in 2012, many viewers in Qatar tuned into the MBC Group’s “Omar,” a controversial TV series starring the second caliph after the Prophet Muhammad.
Since its release on Dec. 12, the nearly 2.5 hour-long Exodus has had a tepid reception in the box office, garnering a 39 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and 52 percent rating on Metacritic.
Reviewer Marc Mohan of the Portland Oregonian writes:
“As an action spectacular, Exodus is on par with (Ridley) Scott’s other forays into ancient times, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Kingdom of Heaven.’ But as a believable human drama, much less a worthy exploration of Judaism’s origins, it falls flat.”
The movie has also faced criticism for casting white actors to play Egyptian characters.
Here’s the trailer for Exodus.
Did you want to see it? Thoughts?