Spring Breakers Won’t Be Released in Lebanon

It may have been received with mixed reviews but we won’t get the chance to judge Spring Breakers ourselves, as per a Grand Cinemas tweet – one of Lebanon’s main cinema chains.

Spring Breakers Lebanon


Empire isn’t showing the movie as well in its list of upcoming releases.


The movie is known to have nudity, drug use and heavy language. It is rated R in the United States. The official synopsis is the following:

Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine) and Faith (Selena Gomez) have been best friends since grade school. They live together in a boring college dorm and are hungry for adventure. All they have to do is save enough money for spring break to get their shot at having some real fun. A serendipitous encounter with rapper “Alien” (James Franco) promises to provide the girls with all the thrill and excitement they could hope for. With the encouragement of their new friend, it soon becomes unclear how far the girls are willing to go to experience a spring break they will never forget.

But are those criteria enough to qualify as the “circumstances” that are not allowing Spring Breakers from having a Lebanese release? I hardly think so. After all, many R-rated movies end up being released here and some Lebanese productions such as Ossit Sawani feature sex scenes as well as drug use – by underage people no less.

Grand Cinemas didn’t reply to tweets asking what those “circumstances” are. It is known, though, that circumstances leading to movies not released here are either political or religious. I doubt though that Spring Breakers violates any of Lebanon’s many sanctities in those two domains.

I guess we’ll never know why Lebanon’s censorship bureau decided this movie shouldn’t be screened here. But when will they know that there’s no such thing as a “ban” in the time and age of digital media? And when will they know that people are aware enough to judge anything’s merit away from their chopping paws?

Spring Breakers will be soon available for download everywhere. Good luck censoring that.


The SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom followed up on this issue with both the Censorship Bureau and Grand Cinemas.
There has not been yet any official request by the Cinema circuit submitted to the General Security’s bureau to receive an approval for screening the movie. Hence, there was no decision whatsoever, neither positive nor negative, regarding Spring Breakers.
As for Grand Cinemas, they said they still do not know when or if they will want to screen that movie.
So there is no case of censorship for this movie.

No idea why Grand Cinema was referring to “circumstances” in their reply if they haven’t even looked at the movie yet.

Titanic 3D Released in Lebanon For ALL Audiences: Fail!

Yes, I went to watch Titanic 3D (my review) – Sue me!

The fact that the movie has become engrained in pop culture until it became nausea-inducing doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie in itself. But I don’t need to explain myself.

When I went to a screening of the movie with a friend, I never thought I’d be sitting next to two ten year old boys, in front of three twelve year old girls and behind a new mom with her two year old toddler.

Perhaps the crowd waiting at the door should have been enough to warn me of what awaited. The average age of those entering the theatre was nowhere near an acceptable range for a movie like Titanic. Since when is it acceptable to admit eight year olds to a movie with nudity, a sex scene and people dying in the dozens?

So here’s the story – the two boys next to us behaved exactly as you’d expect two prepubertal boys to behave: wolf-whistling at Kate Winslet’s breasts (we did that when we watched the movie fifteen years ago, the main difference being we were not allowed to watch it at the cinema) and as it is, they were also all over their BlackBerry and iPhone, answering phone calls, BBMing, Whatsapping – you name it. Telling them more than once to shut it wasn’t enough for them to get the hint until they decided, with about fifteen minutes to go, that they’ve wasted their day watching the movie since they obviously know the ending. Duh!

The toddler, on the other hand, decided that a three hour movie, half of which consists of flashing lights and people drowning, was more than she could handle. So she broke into a crying frenzy. Terrible twos redefined. Were the cinema personnel anywhere to be found? Absolutely not.

The girls behind us behaved as you’d expect preteen girls to act – except they were more than a decade late in fan-girling over Leo Dicaprio. But of course, the level of annoyance didn’t stop there – it had to go further when they decided that talking about their private lives was highly appropriate. One of them decided that cinema chairs are appropriate to catch up on sleep, down to the kicks we got in the back as a result.

So naturally, being so careless about social etiquette, I told them to shut up or leave. They gladly obliged.

Upon leaving Grand Cinemas, I demanded to speak with the manager  and apparently Lebanon’s General Security saw nothing in the movie that warrants limiting it to certain ages. He understood the nuisance I had to go through but he couldn’t do anything. He would be sued if he implemented an age limit. The movie was ruined, big deal. Apparently, I should have spent the entire screening going back and forth to the worker at the theatre door to ask him to come talk to the kids, despite him knowing that the screening was having such problems to begin with: some people had been asked to leave at one point for being a nuisance. So after promising my friend, who had never seen the movie, to take her to watch it, we had to spend three hours trying to act as supervisors to a bunch of kids in a movie they shouldn’t have been present in.

I really don’t get how American Reunion is 18+ and Titanic is for general audiences. I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t have found this many kids in Beauty and the Beast. I actually thought we had mixed movies for a second there. Get a hint, right?

And what’s worse – what parents in their right minds would send their children alone to a movie like Titanic fully knowing what the movie contained? Oh wait, silly me – generations have changed. They must have thought their kids were mentally ready for such a movie, after all owning a smartphone the day you turn 5 is growth-inducing these days. Sorry to break it to them though, their children have the emotional range that ten year olds should have – that of a mustard seed. And their parenting skills are atrocious if they think it’s absolutely fine to send their children to such a movie unattended.

All in all, big fail on Grand Cinemas’ part, big fail on General Security’s part and an even bigger fail on some parents’ reckless neo-parenting. Welcome to Lebanon!