New Netflix movie is raising tempers in a conflict-prone part of Earth
Every year, Netflix expands more and more into creating works for different cultures, but a new one called Perfect strangers receives an intense reaction and a generally divided response online from its target audience of subscribers.
In an article filed earlier today, The Hollywood Reporter detailed the backlash their first original feature in Arabic received from conservatives in MENA countries, i.e. those countries. The play – a remake of an Italian film of the same name – features a group of friends in Lebanon who decide to make all their calls and texts available to each other for a night out as a form of entertainment. Secrets are revealed, a gay character is introduced, and a woman played by actress Mona Zaki strips off her underwear in one scene, though no nudity is featured onscreen.
Lawyer Ayman Mahfouz called on Egyptian censors to ban the article and revealed plans to take legal action against those who wrote it to “promote homosexuality”, but Egypt Daily News reported that this was not possible as the film was a Lebanese production and on a streaming service. The head of the Art Censorship Authority, Khaled Abdel Jalil, also said he had not requested a screening in Egypt and would be “subject to conditions” if requested.
Elsewhere, politician Mustafa Bakri, a member of the Egyptian House of Representatives, called it a “treason”, but many netizens rallied in favor of the production. Actor Amr Waked, who appeared in Syriac, even posted a Tweeter saying “anyone who’s afraid a movie might change faith doesn’t have faith.”
Perfect strangers Netflix is not yet available in the US