Who Is To Blame In Malaysia's 'Beauty' Battle

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Disney's Beauty and the Beast opened to a huge $350 million at the worldwide box office over the weekend. But one country that didn't contribute to the Disney picture's gross was Malaysia.

On censorship, Abdul Halim said LPF was only tasked to notify local distributors of the scenes needed to be censored, adding that the film studios will then edit the movies themselves.

Last week, it was revealed that the film would not screen in Malaysia due to a three-second "gay moment" involving Josh Gad's character, LeFou.

On allowing gorier and supposedly violent movies like Deadpool and Logan with 18-above classification, Mr Abdul Halim said this showed that LPF has depicted a more lenient stand on editing these days.

It also criticised the film's director Bill Condon for highlighting that moment in the movie which, the board claimed, drew undue publicity and forced it to act.

Though, it turns out, the "minor cuts" the censors implied had been demanded appear to have been far more expansive in scope; with the board's chairman Abdul Halim telling New Sunday Times that, in fact, four minutes and 38 seconds worth of cuts had been proposed (via Deadline). And this whole thing may not have been an issue.

"Malaysia does not recognise the LGBT ideology so we have to be extra cautious in our work".

He continued: "We at LBF (the board) want to preserve films as much as how they are intended by the director but the moment the "gay element" is thrown into the mix, we had to protect ourselves". "If we let these scenes pass, people will wonder if Malaysia recognises LGBT", said Hamid in the New Straits Times interview. We have our responsibilities to the country, the people and our constitution.

Homosexuality is not illegal per se in Malaysia, but the country heavily criminalises sodomy that is punishable with imprisonment, corporal punishment and fines. In 2010, the Malaysian Producers Assn. said that gay characters would only be tolerated on film if they either repent or die.

Halim went on to identify which three portions of Beauty and the Beast his board wishes to drop.

The first was during the performance of a song in which the character Le Fou hugs his hero, the villain Gaston, from behind. The film will be screened for the Film Appeals Committee, which is a separate body but which also comes under the wing of the Home Ministry. Its members convene tomorrow (March 21) for a screening.

Nihalani adds, "We had no problem with the homosexual reference in Beauty And The Beast".

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