S'pore bars kids from watching Da Vinci Code

Singapore's board of film censors fears children might perceive the thriller as a factual movie.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 14:18 IST

Singapore film censors Tuesday barred viewers below 16 years of age from watching

The Da Vinci Code

because they are afraid some children might see it as a factual movie.

The thriller, which stars Tom Hanks and is based on the best-selling Dan Brown novel about purported conspiracies in the Roman Catholic church, will be released under the "NC16 rating" with a consumer advisory for "mature content".

The movie, which poses the explosive idea that Jesus Christ married his follower Mary Magdalene and started a blood line that still exists in secret, is due for release here on May 18.

Singapore's board of film censors, which includes religious representatives, is under the Media Development Authority (MDA), a regulatory agency that covers traditional media as well as Internet websites.

"The majority of (censors board) members came to the conclusion that the film should be viewed as a thriller and a piece of fiction," a statement from the MDA said.

"Members agreed that the film can be shown, but at a higher rating as only a mature audience will be able to discern and differentiate between fact and fiction," it added.

The imminent release of the film has stirred religious passions worldwide with the Anglican Church in Sydney and Catholic bishops in the United States launching websites and videos refuting claims made in the novel.

Multi-ethnic Singapore, which suffered racial riots in the 1960s, is sensitive to any movie or publication with strong religious content but has largely taken a more tolerant attitude towards film censorship in recent years.

Director Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was shown uncut to audiences 18 years old and above, while Ang Lee's gay romance blockbuster Brokeback Mountain was also allowed to be shown to mature viewers.

With many Singaporeans now wealthy enough to travel and buy movie DVDs overseas, copies of previously banned older films are now widely available here but sex magazines like Playboy and pornographic films are still banned.

First Published: May 09, 2006 14:10 IST