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Ukraine bans ‘Bruno’

Culture Ministry calls pic immoral

Sacha Baron Cohen’s hit mockumentary “Bruno,” about an outrageous gay Austrian fashion journalist, has been banned in Ukraine because it is “immoral.”

The country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism described shots of sexual organs, homosexual intercourse and bad language as obscene and improper.

The ban — in a former Soviet country that has struggled to create European-oriented institutions following its pro-democracy Orange Revolution five years ago — is likely linked to fears that the film could offend deeply religious sections of the population.

The Universal Pictures Intl. film was due to be released next week via local distrib Sinergia, which announced the censors’ decision on Tuesday.

“Bruno,” which opened last week in many Western markets and topped the U.S. box office, has made $58.4 million worldwide.

Earlier this week U announced that it would release a watered-down version of the pic, minus a minute and a half of footage that contained strong sexual references, in the U.K. to run at the same time as the more adult version. This effort will open up “Bruno” — which has an “18” rating, restricting it to adults only — to a younger audience.

Local reps for Universal did not respond to requests for comments on the Ukrainian decision.

The ban comes two years after British comedian Baron Cohen’s “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” ridiculing the former Soviet republic and the U.S., was nixed in Kazakhstan and Russia.

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