After narrowly escaping the censors’ scissors in the Philippines, “Schindler’s List” has been rejected outright by Malaysian authorities.
Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust film has been banned on the extraordinary grounds that it “incites sympathy for one race.”
The film was due to open in April. Distrib United Intl. Pictures is appealing the ban.
One observer said the ban reflects the political thinking of the Muslim government, which has traditionally supported Arabs in their conflict with the Jews.
The issues raised by “Schindler’s List” go deeply “into the Malay culture,” said one source.
The Malay censorship board also revealed its sensitivity to the depiction of religion by objecting to the Jewish ceremonies shown in the film.
The board usually bans films on grounds of sex or violence.
“Schindler’s List” stirred a furious controversy in the Philippines after the censor board demanded cuts to a bedroom scene. Amid an outcry in the national media, president Fidel Ramos intervened to overturn the censors’ decision.
In its first week, the pic played to packed houses, grossing $ 597,862 on 23 screens for a hot $ 25,994 average.