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Rana Plaza Katastrophe
Image: Reuters

Bangladesh court bans factory disaster film

August 24, 2015

A film depicting Bangladesh's 2013 Rana Plaza disaster has been banned by the high court. Justices ruled the film would "negatively portray" the nation's $25 billion garment industry.


High Court judges ruled Monday that a drama based on the real-life garment factory disaster could not be screened for six months. The ruling was in response to objections filed by a trade group representing garment factory owners.

"The judges imposed the ban following concerns that it would negatively portray Bangladesh's sensitive garment sector in the world and can also create [a] law and order problem in the country," Deputy Attorney General Mokleshur Rahman told the AFP news agency.

The film is entitled Rana Plaza after the factory complex that collapsed in April 2013, killing at least 1,138 people, mostly female garment workers.

The 137-minute drama was scheduled to premiere September 4 at more than 100 cinemas across Bangladesh following last month's clearance from the Bangladesh Film Censor Board.

A national heroine

Bangladesch Überlebende nach 17 Tagen gerettet
19-year-old Reshma Akter was rescued from the rubble of the Rana Plaza 17 days after the building collapsed.Image: Reuters

The plot centers on the dramatic real-life rescue of a 19-year-old garment worker named Reshma Akter from the ruins of the nine-storey Rana Plaza 17 days after it collapsed.

Images of a dazed Akter pulled alive from the wreckage were beamed around the globe, and since marrying her boyfriend and taking a job in the hospitality industry, she has become a venerated figure in Bangladesh.

"The Rana Plaza is also about Reshma's love story, which tries to raise awareness about the life of the country's millions of woman garment workers," director of the movie Nazrul Islam Khan told AFP.

But a petition by the Bangladesh National Garment Workers Employees League argued that the film's use of graphic television footage ran counter to censorship rules, which the court accepted.

The ruling gave the Film Censor Board four weeks to justify its decision to try to give the film a certificate. But the court did not explain why the ban would only apply for six months, or in what circumstances it might be revisited after that period.

Khan, the film's director, said he's confused by the court ruling, noting that he'd already cut scenes deemed "too cruel" by censors.

"I don't know what prompted the court to ban the film. Rana Plaza movie is about the tragedy at the factory complex," he said.

The deadly disaster at the garment factory that supplied many European household brands brought to light substandard working conditions of much of Bangladesh's workforce.

jar/jil (AFP, dpa)

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