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"Apocalypto" Sparks Controversy in Italy

January 5, 2007 (7:42 am) GMT
Buena Vista's R-rated Mayan drama "Apocalypto" has caused a storm in Italy following the local cinema board's decision to release it in theaters without viewer restrictions.
"Apocalypto" Sparks Controversy in Italy

After setting fire among the indigenous members of the Mayan culture, R-rated drama "" again causes ruckus in public, this time in Italy. Local cinema board review has ruled that the movie, despite its content of gruesome slayings and human sacrifices, will be released without viewer restrictions as it opens in theaters today, evoking criticisms from politicians also Codacons, a leading consumer group in the country.

The ANSA and Apcom agencies reported that Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli has written a letter addressed to the film's local distributor Eagle Picture urging the company to alert audience to the flick's gory content and to discourage minors from going to see the movie.

Meanwhile, Codacons itself is said to ask a civil court to impose a ban for viewers under age fourteen and has already assigned its lawyer Marco Ramadori to lodge the appeal by the end of this week.

"The film may be very good but there are beheadings, people being torn to pieces and rapes, so it's clearly not appropriate for minors," Ramadori remarked. "We are not asking for the most violent scenes to be cut but we want the court to review the case urgently and set restrictions for those under 14."

Making a rebuttal to the matter, Gian Paolo Cugno, an Italian director who was among the board members, firmly pointed out that the decision is tolerable since "Apocalypto" is actually "a beautiful movie that tells the story without hiding anything" and that "Wars are a part of life."

"We are used to being subjected to images like the hanging of Saddam Hussein in all the newspapers," he said. "I don't see what the scandal is just because we see a bit of blood."

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