UAE denies ordering cuts to The Wolf of Wall Street movie

Local distributor took decision to remove a quarter of scenes from the latest Martin Scorsese movie

The National Media Council, the government body responsible for approving the release of films in the UAE, has denied media reports it ordered the censoring of the latest controversial award-winning movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street', amidst reports the film’s distributors made the cuts in advance of submitting it for approval.

The film, which this week won Leonardo Di Caprio a Golden Globe award for best actor, tells the story of Jordan Belfort, a Wall Street stockbroker convicted of fraud in the 90s.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, who also made Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and The Departed, the film infamously contains the most swear words of any fictional film ever produced – around 546 in total - and more than two dozen scenes depicting sexual activity or illegal drug use.

For the UAE screening, the curse words were removed and scenes of a graphic or sexual nature were removed, reducing the film’s original 180 minute running time by 45 minutes, or nearly a quarter.

However, the head of the National Media Council (NMC) has denied earlier media reports that UAE censors had ordered the cuts. Latest reports also claim it was the film’s UAE distributors who made the changes themselves before submitting it for approval.

“No cuts were made at the request of, or following suggestions from, the National Media Council,” Ibrahim Al Abed, director general of the National Media Council, told Arabian Business.

A spokesperson from Gulf Film, the film’s local distributor, did not answer requests to explain who had ordered the changes to the UAE version of the movie.

“When we asked the distributors, they said they cut all those scenes and words, because they want to distribute the film in GCC,” Juma Obaid Al Leem, director of the NMC’s Media Content Tracking Department, was quoting as saying by Gulf News.

“[We have told them] next time, don’t touch the film. We will make the cuts. We will decide. Maybe some scenes will be accepted. Don’t make any cut outside till they bring the full film and we will decide about the film,” he added.

While some fans of the movie have hit out at the cuts, some cinema operators have placed signs warning cinemagoers of the changes.

“Dear Customers, Kindly be informed that the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” contains muted words, and some scenes have been removed as they were not considered suitable,” a sign warned at Reel Cinemas in Dubai Mall, adding that the operators had “no control on the censorship and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

The $100m film has already earned $97m at global box offices since it was released on December 25.

The film is nominated for four British Academy awards this month and is widely expected to be a main contender for the big awards at the Oscars awards in March.

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Posted by: Jean

We live in an Islamic country and should respect the laws of the country. I have been here since 95 and respect the fact that the country and regulations apply to movies to be cut here for many reasons. The most notiable being that there is no age restrictions here. So any child can be exposed to sex, drugs and swearing in the cinema. I applaud that things are cut here for that very reason. We live in a world now where content of a movie is freely advertised. You want a movie that is rated and has violence, sex and drugs. Dont pay the cinema price and just wait to buy it on dvd and enjoy it in the comfort of your own home.

Posted by: Andy

You guys don't need to see this lol.. This is bad for our values lol. We may learn something that we did not know about or see something that we may not have seen before lol..

Why not just warn the people before entering what the movie contains and if they accept they can watch but if they do not accept then they can choose to stay out and watch another movie or cartoon.

Posted by: Hussain

i have seen the movie in Kuwait and there where more than 60mins cut!.The movie literally ended after two hours!

Posted by: basheer

we should be allowed to watch what we want out here. i for one am fed up of paying out on expensive cinema tickets to watch a movie for 85 minutes when in fact it should be 120 minutes long.
yes, some people might find certain scenes offensive but that should be warned to all adults/parents before showing the movie.

this is the reason why people out here will continue to buy DVD's in the black market

Posted by: Mick

It's a shame that cinema has to be policed to the degree of treating adults as children. We should know what to expect when watching a film and not have decisions made for us. Why not just re-label every film with a G rating since it's cut up so badly to ensure that a 40 year old doesn't learn any foul language. This is just empowering illegal downloads and streaming sites so people can actually watch the original film. It's true, as mentioned earlier, that there seems to be no problem with ultra-violence but you can't hear the word (female dog) that was censored from a few movies that I've seen including Kick A$$ 2. If people here are worried about young people's welfare, start putting seatbelts on them and not keeping them awake until past midnight.

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