Manama: Kuwait has banned the screening of a controversial Egyptian film, saying that it promoted a culture of debauchery.
The film, Bedoon Rakaba (Out of Control or Uncensored), was produced in 2009 and addresses lifestyles centering on drug uses by young people and lesbianism, a taboo subject in Arab cinema and society.
According to the Kuwaiti daily Al Watan, a member of the censorship board said that some of the scenes were "too hot" and that the lesbianism theme was too bold. The member stressed that the scenario was very weak and failed to address the controversial issues properly.
In the film, the main character, Ahmad Fahmy, is a drug addict and an alcoholic who inherits a colossal fortune when his father dies. Actress Ola Ghanem plays the role of a lesbian who seeks to lure young girls into her way of life.
Commenting on the furore caused by the film upon its release in Egypt, Ola said that art had the responsibility to examine homosexuality trends and behaviour and to discuss the reasons and facts for their occurrence.
However, the film sought only to convey the idea of same sex relationships and purposely omitted scenes of an intimate nature, she said.
The actress said that she did her own research and met gay women and interviewed them in order to get ready for her character in the film.
Homosexuality is a social and legal offence in the Arab world and Gulf Cooperation Council countries authorities have recently allocated large sums of money to combat the phenomenon growing in some of their cities where cosmopolitan cultures co-exist.
In Bahrain, nine Gulf nationals were arrested on New Year's Eve for crossdressing and for offering sex to revelers in a disco. A court on Monday ruled to extend their detention by one more week, pending investigations.
Bahraini lawmakers who dominate in the lower chamber have been pushing for strict action to arrest and deport all foreign gays in the country, arguing that they were corrupting young people and harming Bahrain's reputation. Manama was ranked among the top eight vice cities in the world in a survey by an online men's magazine.
In Kuwait, an unprecedented attempt in 2007 by homosexuals to set up an association and seek public recognition failed. The Kuwaiti National Council Commission for Upholding Ethics has been vigorously campaigning to criminalize cross-dressing and all instances of imitating the opposite sex and to eradicate "alien phenomena eroding Kuwaiti values and morals."