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Tue 14 Jan 2014 12:18 PM

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Did they really need to muzzle The Wolf of Wall Street?

Salma Awwad says a grading process of censorship would have saved the fiasco over Leonardo Di Caprio’s new movie

Did they really need to muzzle The Wolf of Wall Street?

Everyone is talking about The Wolf of Wall Street. A cracking movie. Incredible, Oscar-tipped performance from Leonardo Di Caprio and arguably Martin Scorsese’s greatest work in decades.

Except you wouldn’t know any of this if you paid to see the movie in the UAE. It’s not merely censored, but a quarter of it has been completely slashed off, along with a staggering 546 swear words. No mass applause at the end from the audience, just mass confusion.

And most bizarrely of all, the UAE National Media Council had absolutely nothing to do with this phenomenal censoring exercise. “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.

Oh no, this was all the work of the local distributor, who took it upon itself to decide what we should and shouldn’t see.

It begs the question, what exactly is the definition of censorship? Is it deleting information for the greater good, or does it border more on moral policing?

Muted words can easily be deciphered if need be. All this censoring really did was deliver a choppy movie to the audience rather than protect their innocence.

Deleting an excessive amount of footage made it seem like the movie was jumping through a series of unrelated events at certain times.

It is true that some scenes were shockingly graphic and one can argue that we cannot take the liberty of artistic freedom and stoop the art to levels of pornography, but is it really possible to keep such deleted material away from audiences in the age of the internet?

Even if some scenes appear extremely unsuitable for the audience as a whole, instead of cutting those scenes, could the distributor not retain the movie’s artistic integrity by applying a localised grading process?

Such a  grading process would allow the film to be viewed as a whole and in its complete glory, but only by an audience of a suitable age. That would be a better solution.

As Juma Obaid Al Leem, director of the NMC’s Media Content Tracking Department, told 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.”

Unfortunately for The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s too late.

STT 5 years ago

So who is the local distributor? And wouldn't this be a breach of copyright or carry other legal implications? It is misrepresentation of a work of art due to a personal preference… imagine the Mona Lisa painted over by a local gallery owner just because he didn't like the way she was dressed!

The local distributor should have no rights in this case.

(This however does not mean I agree with censorship of "offending" content in movies shown in local cinemas… it should be at the discretion of the viewer to select the content they consume. Unless you're a sheep, and then you shouldn't be in a cinema anyway.)

N S 5 years ago

The NMC would of censored the whole film if they saw it in full themselves.

norty 5 years ago

censorship in the ME. They'd be better off focussing on the door to door DVD sellers....some of the filth that they are peddling has to be seen to be believed...(well that's my excuse anyway)

Gere 5 years ago

I'm a sheep..... Baaa!!

iKnow 5 years ago

Much ado about nothing

Ace 5 years ago

This movie in my opinion was one of the worst movies ever. i watched it in my country which they say is "open free country" & left after 15 minutes. I was always interested in something about Wall street but this movie was everything except about Wall street. It is indeed a Porn movie, with 1000 bad words, encouraging people to take cocaine or whatever it was, teaching investment brokers to take other people's money (a thing that i went through myself so I know it is true). Can you believe that rewarding staff in the movie is by bring prostitutes????!!!!!!!!!((((.
People that accept such a movie, think they are being civilized. But being like US & Europe is not by enjoying such a horrible movie but taking science from them, living standards, peace, well being of society....
If the local supplier in UAE did censorship I thank him & think it was better not to play the movie from the beginning. If UAE government took this step well i want to congratulate them cause they are wise people

Jack Sparrow 5 years ago

Clearly Salma has no idea of what a good move is?! Personally, Scorcese is one of the most over-rated Hollywood personalities out there

Calvin Pinto 5 years ago

Well, you can watch theses documentaries (Capitalism: A Love Story & Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) instead . You will be surprised this actually happens for real.

Mick 5 years ago

Yes, all those awards were bought. I mean Goodfellas...what garbage. Casino....mehhhh......yeah, Scorcese....what a hack.

Of course, this is all venomous sarcasm. I'm wondering who actually has no idea what a good film is......

He's a legend and has earned that label, clearly.

wilfred 5 years ago

Just saw Black Rock. Pathetic how they want to shield their people from a nude woman running around in the forest while trying to survive, but have no problems with showing a sliced throat in great detail with litres of blood...

Violence is allowed, but the beauty and simplicity of a human body is not...

What a sad world it is becoming ...