Zimbabwe bans laffer

Government gives no explanation for pulling film

Zimbabwean auds hoped to have something to laugh about last month when the country’s first feature-length comedy prepared to hit the bigscreen.

But the joke turned out to be on them, after the country’s censorship board pulled the plug just days after opening night.

“Lobola” had a star-studded preem Nov. 25, with local filmmakers hoping the pic would bring a bit of life — and levity — to Zimbabwe’s struggling film biz.

Co-producer Tapiwa Gandiya says the pic — which is also the country’s first film shot in HD — would “re-energize the Zimbabwe movie industry.”

The ban came after authorities alleged that pic’s producers failed to go through the “right procedures” to get approval before the theatrical release.

The decision puzzled co-producer Rufaro Kaseke, who says he had gotten the go-ahead from the board before opening night. The film authorized for the preem, he says, “is the same version we intended to show the public, but for some strange reason, it is no longer good enough.”

Though frustrated by the setback, producers hoped that “Lobola” would finally be ready for theatrical release in a few months, after clearing the board’s vetting process.

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