A woman running towards a Church. She barges in, takes some dirt and throws them at a statue of the Virgin Mary, shouting at Her. Do you remember that scene? If you don’t, it’s a scene in Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now.
I see no one who has a problem with that scene.
Tannoura Maxi, a new Lebanese movie, is being challenged as an offense to Christianity. What’s the content of the movie that might be offensive?
1 – Sexy outfits in church
2 – Flirtatious and suggestive looks during Mass
3 – Talk about sex in church
4 – Sex scene in a convent to church bells.
So in a nutshell, it undermines the role of clergy and apparently portrays the Lebanese Forces in a bad light. The movie is supposed to be taking place during civil war Lebanon. It’s the story of a priest falling for a girl. Overdone? Definitely. Nauseating? Beyond any doubt. Should it be banned? Hell no.
The movie is somewhat autobiographical for the director whose father, a deacon, fell for his mother while on his way to priesthood. In Tannoura Maxi, however, the main character is not a deacon but a priest, who’s not allowed to act on this type of impulses. Is that reason enough for the outrage?
If priests alone represented Christianity, then we are in deep trouble. If representing priests in bad ways in movies is now frowned upon, then we are in deeper trouble. Has anyone watched the movie “Doubt” where a priest is accused of being sexually-abusive to a child?
Has anyone watched or read “The Hunchback of Notre Dame?” – Belle, the song from the play, has the following lyric: “O Fleur de Lys, si je ne suis pas un homme de foi, j’irai ceuillir la fleur d’amour d’Esmeralda.” [I am not a man of faith, I will go and collect Esmeralda's flower of love].
I don’t see anyone being offended by that as well.
Is anything priesthood and Christianity-related offensive only when it’s done by Lebanese and tolerable when done by everyone else?
Think about this for a second. Would The DaVinci Code have been the phenomenon it was in Lebanon had it not been banned?
I haven’t watched Tannoura Maxi and I don’t intend to – not because of its religious content but because of its content in general.
The movie is directed and written by Joe Bou Eid. His previous works include Miriam Fares music videos. Enough said.
The movie’s script was presented to a priest for approval, lacking anything that might be controversial. So they double crossed a priest in order to get what they want.
A Lebanese movie about religion, set during the civil war… How original! At least Where Do We Go Now had an interesting take on the topic. But if Nadine Labaki does another war-related movie, I, for one, will be far less accepting.
Moreover, if director Joe Bou Eid wants to take a jab at the Lebanese Forces and make it seem legitimate, I suggest he does it in a serious movie that is not pushing people to nausea when they watch. So regarding that matter, I think Tannoura Maxi is irrelevant enough to be of any relevance. The LF have nothing to worry about.
The director said the LF admit they did “bad stuff” during the war. Well, so did everyone else. I don’t see him addressing that. But you know how it is with Christians in Lebanon – we have chosen our war-scapegoat in the form of the LF. Anything else simply wouldn’t make sense. God forbid anyone else did bad things.
I don’t want to watch Tannoura Maxi because everything I’ve heard about the movie can be summed up in the following way: it’s a waste of time, money, talent. It’s a waste of your neurons firing to keep you awake during the movie. It’s a waste of the effort that your brain has to do in order for you to watch the movie.
So now you know why there’s a story about it being offensive to Christianity? Controversy brings audience. Just ignore it and Tannoura Maxi will die a slow, painful death.
Finally I ask Lebanese movie makers this to ponder on this: when you need to spring up controversy to get your movies noticed, you know you’re doing it wrong. How about you focus on making decent movies, worthy of the budgets you’re getting, instead of regurgitating the same topic again and again and again and then following the same marketing tactics to put your movies on radars?
The trailer of Tannoura Maxi: