‘It’s sad as many were look­ing for­ward to watch­ing it.’

New Straits Times - - Front Page - TAHIR ALHAMZAH writes

IT’S a case of take it or leave it. Or so it seems when Walt Dis­ney Co in the United States is­sued a state­ment via email re­gard­ing the with­draw of the film Beauty and The Beast from be­ing screened here with mi­nor ed­its.

“The film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia,” said Dis­ney in the press state­ment.

This sim­ply meant that if the Malaysian Cen­sor­ship Board (LPF) de­cided to cut some scenes deemed im­proper, there would not be any screen­ing at all here.

“It’s a sad thing if it comes to that as there many who are look­ing for­ward to watch­ing the film,” said LPF chair­man Datuk Ab­dul Halim Ab­dul Hamid.

“As far as we’re con­cerned, we’ve done our part. We didn’t ban the film. We only cut the gay scene, af­ter which we gave the lo­cal dis­trib­u­tor the go-ahead for the screen­ing,” he added.

Halim also said that Malaysia had been prac­tis­ing the snip­ping of film scenes deemed in­ap­pro­pri­ate due to sev­eral rea­sons, which in­clude is­sues con­cern­ing cul­tural and re­li­gious sen­si­tiv­i­ties.

“In other coun­tries, the re­spec­tive au­thor­i­ties do not edit out the in­ap­pro­pri­ate scenes.

“What they do is they de­cide on suit­able rat­ings for the films so that view­ers will be well-in­formed on the kind of con­tent of­fered.”

For ex­am­ple, he said, Rus­sia had de­cided to give a rat­ing of “16+” to the film, to pre­vent chil­dren from watch­ing be­cause of the stu­dio’s first “ex­clu­sively gay mo­ment” in­volv­ing a char­ac­ter played by Josh Gad.

Halim said all this while, LPF’s ac­tion had not caused any in­ter­na­tional film pro­duc­ers to ar­rive at a dras­tic de­ci­sion as the one such by Dis­ney. Maybe it’s be­cause Dis­ney is such a huge com­pany, and takes pride in its prod­uct.

“They must be very un­happy when we made that mi­nor edit,” he said.

He also said that when such a de­ci­sion was made by the film pro­ducer, the lo­cal dis­trib­u­tor and cin­ema chains did not have a say.

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