Mel Gibson's The Passion OfThe Christ has been cleared by Malaysia's Film Censorship Board for anuncensored release for all ages, albeit with one condition that is restrictedfor Christian eyes only.
The approval came after theNational Evangelical Christian Fellowship lobbied the prime minister's officefor the release of the film. Screening will start on September 1, with twoshows per day, at 17 cinemas in eight major cities. Cinema tickets areavailable only through churches to make sure that the film is watched only byChristians, who make up 9.5% of the 24 million population.
As the censorship code saysno prophets mentioned in the Koran can be depicted in films, Twentieth CenturyFox did not submit The Passion to thecensors, knowing that it would not get passed.
It was the same rule thatreportedly prohibited the screening of PrinceOf Egypt, the animated film about Moses, in Malaysia. A Middle Easternanimation Muhammad, The Last Prophet,however was released three months ago because it did not show the prophet'sface.
Meanwhile, In Singapore,local distributor Festive Films failed in an appeal to lift the ban on Taiwan'sbox office sensation Formula 17, afilm that 'promotes and encourages homosexuality' according to the Films AppealCommittee.
Festive Films managingdirector Low Yuen Ping was hoping that the film would be passed under therevised film rating system, introduced in April, which allows depiction ofhomosexual issues for mature audience.