Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis was a mild art-house hit over here, a movie about Iran and radical Islam that pretty much failed to incite political controversy because it was so warm-hearted and apolitical. But that’s not stopping leaders of Lebanon from banning the movie, for fears it would only make matters worse with their touchy political situation.

This isn’t the first time Lebanon has banned a movie: in 2005 they banned Syriana, since it depicted Lebanese political group Hezbollah in a less-than-positive light. Persepolis doesn’t mention Lebanon at all, but members of Hezbollah have strong ties with Iran, and the movie is critical of some of Iran’s policies, particularly its strict interpretation of Islam.

Variety points out that Persepolis is being screened in Iran, even though several Iranian leaders condemned it. You can’t blame the leaders of Lebanon for trying not to incite riots and political turmoil, but as the screenings in Iran have demonstrated, Persepolis isn’t really the kind of movie that inspires mass violence. It’s much more of a coming-of-age story than a political manifesto, and the story of a child’s life in wartime could have taken place in Kosovo, or World War II-era Germany, or any other place that has undergone political turmoil. Hopefully the people of Lebanon will eventually be able to see the film, but they might be right in thinking that now just isn’t the right time.
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