Global blockbuster “Wonder Woman,” already banned in Lebanon, has been pulled from a film festival in Algiers, the capital of Algeria.
The superhero movie was due to play in Algiers on Sunday during the second edition of Nuits du Cinéma, a festival jointly organized by film distribution company MD Cine and cultural organization Arts et Culture d’Alger to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. But the film was abruptly removed from the lineup.
The sudden change prompted local journalists to speculate that the film had been yanked because “Wonder Woman’s” lead actress, Gal Gadot, is Israeli. Lebanon banned the film last week under pressure from groups opposed to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.
But Amine Idjer, head of press at MD Cine, told Agence France-Presse that “Wonder Woman” was pulled because of “administrative issues linked to exhibition rights.” He said the film would be added back to the lineup once those issues were resolved.
A petition to boycott the film in Algeria called “Non! Pas en Algeria” (“No! Not in Algeria”) was launched last week after Lebanon’s ban was announced. It called for a similar ban in Algeria on the grounds that Gadot had publicly praised Israel’s military actions during the 2014 war in Gaza.
The festival venue, Théâtre de verdure Laâdi Flici, is a large open-air auditorium. It’s unknown whether the film will roll out elsewhere in the country. MD Cinema, Arts et Culture d’Alger, and the Algerian ministry of culture were not immediately reachable for comment.
“Wonder Woman” was banned last Wednesday in Lebanon about two hours before the film was scheduled to screen. The film is still expected to open this week in other Arab countries – notably, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, and the Arab Emirates.