The Steven Spielberg remake of the most legendary musical comedy falls under censorship in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.
West Side Story is one of the most anticipated releases of this end of the year. Sixty years after the original, director Steven Spielberg presents his adaptation of the legendary film by Robert Wise, Jerome Robin and Leonard Bernstein. Like the original 1961 version, from which it draws heavily on, the film tells the story of Maria and Tony’s thwarted love against a backdrop of clashes between rival gangs. A transposition of Romeo and Juliet in 1950s New York. Produced by Disney Studios and 20th Century, it is broadcast in France from Wednesday.
Even before the announcement of its theatrical release, and while the film was already offered around the world, several countries refused to broadcast it. In the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where the film has not received a release certificate, or in Qatar and Oman, where Disney has refused to comply with the cuts requested by the broadcasters.
This is not the first time, far from it, that the Gulf States have censored some of the major film releases, to the point of banning them if they do not get cuts from the studios. Swearing, sexuality, blasphemy are among the grounds for censorship. In 2020, several Gulf countries had banned the broadcasting ofForward, Pixar film, due to an allusion to the homosexuality of one of the characters. More recently, The Eternals, Marvel’s latest production, has not been licensed in several states including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait due to the presence of the first openly gay superhero in the Captain America and Spider-Man universe.
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