Mawlana is a 2016 Egypt mystery drama by Magdy Ahmed Aly.
Starring Amr Saad, Dorra Zarrouk and Ahmed Magdy.
A seemingly traditional journey of a young sheikh in a
governmental mosque who moves from leading prayers to becoming a TV celebrity issuing "fatwas" that are accepted by millions who have become fans of his as a result of his courage and his attempts to deviate from the usual religious rhetoric in
a society heavily influenced by fundamentalism. The TV spotlight only shows his eloquent yet sarcastic answers he gives to the callers in a preset scenario, while in the dark and cloudy space around him, bloody struggles for power are raging, struggles
he had always tried to avoid.
The organizers of Beirut Cinema Days are inviting everyone to join them in speaking up against censorship in Lebanon. They have organised a protest and discussion panel saying:
We the organizers of Ayam Beirut Al Cinema'iya refuse to accept the censorship of creative art in all its forms and invite you to join us in protest.
During the 9th edition of Ayam
Beirut Al Cinema'iya the censor was stricter than in any previous year and did not grant screening permissions for two films Beit El Baher (The Beach House) and Mawlana (The Preacher).
In the statement the organizers also note that
the censor asked many other filmmakers participating in the festival to edit out parts of their films.
The Egyptian political thriller Mawlana revolves around a Sheikh who becomes a TV celebrity issuing fatwas to TV audiences across Egypt. The
film highlights the issue of close ties between the state and religious institutions. Mawlana is directed by Magdy Ahmed Ali and based on journalist Ibrahim Eissa's novel of the same name.
Upon its release in Egypt, the film sparked controversy
but was given a release permit and went on to become a box office hit. In Lebanon, however, the general security censorship board banned the film after it caused a stir among religious authorities in the country. They refused to permit its screening at
Ayam Beirut Al Cinema'iya.
Beit El Baher by Roy Dib revolves around Rayya and a group of her friends who reunite for the first time in years at her beach house in the South of Lebanon. Over a casual dinner the characters feast on the
building blocks of their personal and communal identities, and recount stories of their past.
In a statement posted on the film's Facebook page, Dib says there wasn't a specific scene or phrase in the film that the censor board had a
problem with, they simply notified us that the entire film annoyed them. Even though the film hasn't received an official ban, it wasn't given a screening permit in time for the festival.
In recent months, films including Mounia Akl's short
Submarine and Karl Haddad's My name Is have been banned.