Tannoura Maxi – To Ban or Not to Ban? To Watch or Not to Watch?


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:

17 thoughts on “Tannoura Maxi – To Ban or Not to Ban? To Watch or Not to Watch?

  1. Well, this time I disagree with some points:
    1- I think what you stated as “offensive content” might not be exact, it is actually exagerated and I suggest you watch the movie to see the content and the idea behind some scenes.
    2- The movie in not about religion during civil war, it is about a true story that happens to occur during that period and shows the conflict that the director’s father is facing..
    3- Concerning the LF, the movie was not at all against them but since they were present in that area during that time, they were included in the story but it is more like in the background, not an essential part to the story.
    4- The thing about this movie is that either people liked it or hated it, having said that I suggest you watch it and develop an idea about it. For me, it is not at all a commercial movie and it has very strong points in it. I have to say that just yesterday the movie won “Best Director” award and “Best actress” award in the Monaco film festival.
    5- Finally I don’t think it’s a marketing tactic from their part, since it is about to be banned in Lebanese cinemas, and if you watched the episode of “Tony -Nidal el Ahmadieh- Khalifeh”, you would understand why I think that.

    Note that I am just discussing, no offense or anything is intended; I’m just showing my point of view 🙂


    • 1 – I asked people who watched the movie (non-Christians) about what might be deemed offensive. This is what they told me. So I believe this is as good as it gets 😛
      2 – I mentioned it’s somewhat autobiographical. But his father was also a deacon, not a priest. Why twist the story if the true one could have made a similar movie?
      3 – I know the LF isn’t the main point. But they are present and shown in a not-so positive light. Either own up to that and don’t show it fleetingly or don’t show it at all. They were not the only active party at the time.
      4 – While I don’t have time to watch it, the word of mouth I got has been so negative that I don’t think I would waste my money to watch it. Regarding the awards thing, there are many more Lebanese movies that win at these types of festivals. We don’t hear about them all so I don’t think it’s a mark of how “good” they are to a Lebanese crowd.
      5 – I don’t think it will be banned. As I said, I’m against the ban. But I presume more people are watching it nowadays just to see what the fuss is about. I think Tony Khalife and his show are nauseating. They never present their material in an objective way. They twist and twist everything they get until they milk every single thing out of it. Having said that, I think the producers + director of Tannoura Maxi aren’t exactly displeased their movie is getting this much attention.

      No offense taken, walaw.


      • 1- In my opinion, Lebanese always tend to overreact, especially when it comes to religion.
        2- I honestly can’t argue when it comes to these details, priest or deacon, but the summary written by the writer/director is as follows: “It was the summer of 82, when a priest, about to be ordered, was exhausted by temptations and an arrogant girl felt passionately in love…”
        3- Maybe you are right here, he had better not mention anything related to war in a selective way.
        4- Regarding the awards, well I think if it wins 2 awards after competing with more than 26 movies, it must have something nice. In addition, I think that Lebanese who think that “Ghannoujet bayya” and “Cash Flow” good movies won’t like this one for sure 😛 (with all due respect akid but that was exaggerating to show what I mean).
        5- I think you are right, if it doesn’t get banned, they got themselves free publicity, though I still don’t agree that they started it.



        • 1) True. But since I haven’t watched the movie, I can’t tell if the content is there for the sake of having a shock factor or not.
          2) Yes I got that of the story. But you shouldn’t forget that he showed the script without all the details to two priests. So I guess he “knew” what he was doing.
          3) Exactly. If it doesn’t serve the story, why have it? Again – shock factor.
          4) Rewards are always nice. But there are so many other movies that get rewards (I saw the DVD of one with those festival logos all over) and we don’t know about them. Not all rewards are relevant :p And no, the movies you mentioned are not the criteria. I reviewed Cash Flow :p
          5) They may have not started it but they will sure benefit from it.

          I have an interesting take on the topic that I will publish tomorrow.


  2. I have watched the film, In my opinion there are some exaggeration in the scenes and it doesn’t clarify the story it’s very complicated, so the reaction of the clergy to it is normal cause every one has understand it from his point of view.
    I am against the ban and with the freedom of expression, let every one express their thoughts and the public will judge after it.


  3. It is unfortunate that you people haven’t noticed the sinister symbolism and the dark side of the movie.
    First, the poster. It shows the woman showing one eye. This is a symbol of the all seeing eye that is a famous Masonic symbol. It means that they (those who made the movie) control the minds of the viewer.
    Second, the sex scene inside the church. This is a clear reminder of Satanist rituals.

    The director, Joe Bou Eid, is clearly a Satanist Freemason.
    Check his page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/JOE-BOU-EID/378883486039
    Check his photo which appears on the cover of Lifestyle Magazine. It represents him with two faces one red representing evil and one clear representing good. This is part of Masonic dogma which says that all humans have a dual nature inside them: one good and one bad.
    Then check the article about him in Lifestyle Magazine: http://www.800lifestyle.com/content.asp?lifestyle=magazine&cntnt=1319. It represents him with a woman enclosed in a cage. The cage represents mind control. The woman in the cage is a slave controlled by Joe Bou Eid. Mind control is a common interest among Freemasons.

    It is really sad how normal people look at these things and don’t notice the sinister symbolism.



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