Thursday, June 30

Movie theater. “Buzz Lightyear” banned in a dozen countries because of a kiss between two women

It’s called the kiss of discord. Pixar Studios’ latest animated film, “Buzz Lightyear,” has been banned in a dozen countries and territories in the Middle East and Asia. In question, a fleeting kiss scene between two women. Malaysia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Territories are particularly concerned.

A risk that the creators of the film expected to run. “We had been warned that this would be a likely outcome,” said American producer Galyn Susman during a video interview with AFP. “But we weren’t going to change the movie we wanted to make just because of a few countries with – for lack of a better term – backward beliefs,” she adds.

A scene originally cut

“Buzz Lightyear” retraces the birth of the intrepid astronaut made famous by the “Toy Story” saga. In the film, Buzz and his fellow space rangers, including his leader and best friend Alisha Hawthorne, crash land on a hostile planet. And this one is married to a woman, a fleeting scene showing her kissing her wife. But this scene very nearly never made it to the final cut: it had even been initially cut by Pixar studios, a subsidiary of Disney.

Employees of these companies then rose up, criticizing the attitude of the world’s number one entertainment company, accused of not committing to defending the rights of LGBT people. The controversy was further reignited after the adoption in Florida of a controversial law prohibiting teaching on sexual orientation in public schools. Bob Chapek, the CEO of the company which employs more than 75,000 people in its Disney World amusement park in Orlando, in this southeastern state of the United States, was then in turmoil after saying hesitate to oppose this law. According to specialized Hollywood media, it was following this controversy that the kissing scene was reinserted in “Buzz Lightyear”. She now appears in all versions of the film, regardless of the country of destination.

The controversy before the film

In April, after the scene had been restored, Galyn Susman insisted that kissing or not, the couple of women had “always been part of the film”. Director Angus MacLane also assured AFP that the film had in no way been altered to please censorship. “We made our film, they didn’t want to see it, fine,” he said.

This sensitive debate has, in any case, eclipsed the film itself before its worldwide release, Friday in many countries, including the United States, and next Wednesday in France. Reviews were mixed, with some praising the action scenes and visual effects, others calling the film an unusual misfire for Pixar. Most, however, loved the secondary character: Sox, the cat-robot with which Buzz is flanked.

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