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Censor Bans Movie Outright: ‘Made Too Well To Order Cuts’

June 1, 1994

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Egypt’s chief film censor says Steven Spielberg’s ″Schindler’s List″ is too good to cut but too graphic to show.

The censor, Hamdy Sorour, banned the movie from theaters but denied his decision was political.

Censorship laws, he said, would oblige him to cut more than 20 scenes of violence, torture and nudity.

″But cutting these scenes would undermine the high technological quality of the film,″ Sorour said. ″The value of the film would be lost.″

The film, which won seven Academy Awards, depicts how German industrialist Oskar Schindler saved hundreds of Polish Jews from Nazi death camps during World War II.

Sorour said lovemaking and unpleasant historical events such as the Holocaust should only be hinted at in films.

″We could condone showing the murder of three, four or five people,″ he said, ″but when tens of thousands are being burned ... Egyptian audiences couldn’t bear it.

″The whole problem here isn’t one of security or politics,″ he said. ″It is the value of the film that is at stake.″

The film has been banned by other Muslim countries, including Jordan and Malaysia. Malaysia first outlawed it as too sympathetic to Jews, then reviewed the decision and said ″Schindler’s List″ contained too much violence and sex for Malaysians.

Egypt is the only Arab country that has a peace treaty with Israel. But antipathy to Jews, whom many Egyptians equate with Israelis, remains widespread because of their four wars.

The film’s distributors, Universal, have seven days to appeal the board’s decision to an appeals committee of government officials.

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