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UN orders anti-islamic 8 film removed

MiraNair.jpg8 is a group of eight short films by eight of the world's leading directors, and quite diverse group they are too. The films were backed by the United Nations to promote the awareness for their eight Millennium Development Goals which were to halve poverty by the year 2015 – one hundred and ninety one governments signed up to the commitment, and the films were made.

However one of the episodes has raised U.N. hackles, so much so that they've pulled funding and ordered the film-makers to remove it immediately as well as allegedly contacting film festivals and applying pressure to have them drop the film.

The film in question is called How can it be? and is from non other than Mira Nair, the director who brought us Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair and The Namesake. Her film tells the story of the breakup of a Muslim marriage in the U.S. which she had created to promote gender equality. Of the film she says through Variety:

“Religious women are often considered as not having any rights; the (Muslim) veil should instead be seen as a powerful symbol of identity.”

So I'm guessing that the fuss was over something to do with the veil perhaps? The outcome though is known, one U.N. official decided that the film was anti-Islamic and ensured that the backing was pulled. That's when the fuss began.

The producers of 8, Marc Oberon and Lissandra Haulica, said that the U.N. had told them to remove the episode in no uncertain terms:

“...asked us, actually, ordered us...But we had agreed on giving the directors artistic freedom and we did not back down.”

Well done them. They also claim that they then started pressurising film festivals not to play the film.

You can't give creative freedom to someone and then be surprised when they speak their mind. Of course you could ask for the film not to be shown if it is truly offensive, but I imagine it's not, particularly from Mira Nair and particularly after what she said about the film.

More the case that it's political correctness gone mad again. Let's face it anyway, the U.N. have got bigger fish to fry, like stopping one of the genocides that they keep ignoring and promising will never happen again. Perhaps they should concentrate on fixing rather than promoting.

8 features seven other directors, not just Nair. There's Jane Campion, Gael García Bernal, Jan Kounen, Gaspar Noé, Abderrahmane Sissako, Gus Van Sant and Wim Wenders. Now selecting that group of directors you would expect to get something controversial would you not? Perhaps Nair wouldn't be the first choice to have upset the U.N. though.



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