Beirut movie trailer sparks anger for reinforcing stereotypes

None of the movie was shot in Lebanon, and none of the top billed actors are Lebanese

Jon Hamm's 2018 film Beirut is being criticised for playing into Arab stereotypes, and with a very heavy hand at that. YouTube / Bleecker Street
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Lebanese censors have seen a backlash on social media over a proposed ban of Steven Spielberg's The Post, but they could be mulling over another controversial movie.

While Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri intervened on Wednesday to dismiss the ban, Brad Anderson's Beirut, seems to have much of the nation united in criticism.

Starring Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike, Beirut is set to release in the country on April 13.

This date also happens to be the anniversary of the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975.

Despite its name, the movie was shot almost entirely in Morocco, with no filming taking place in Lebanon. It stars no Lebanese actors on the main credits on IMDB and, judging by the trailer, it portrays the city as a sweaty hotbed of terrorism, savagery and barbarism.

The first glimpse of people on the streets of Beirut in the trailer are two children running around with plastic guns, shooting at the American star. Meanwhile, the film’s American and Israeli characters appear to be knights in shining armour.

The trailer ends with Hamm's character saying: "Two thousand years of revenge, vendetta, murder ... welcome to Beirut."

It is a world away from the Beirut we know today, and the trailer has not gone down well on Twitter, where the hashtag #BoycottBeirutMovie has been trending and the #TheRealBeirut campaign has been encouraging Twitter users to post pictures of a less fractious version of the city.

Twitter user Karim seemed to sum up the feelings of many Lebanese with his observation:

We'll leave you with five Instagram pictures taken in and around Beirut that were posted just this week: 


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