The Da Vinci Code :Pre-release reactions


The Vatican
At a conference on April 28, 2006, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Vatican curial department formerly known as the Inquisition, Archbishop Angelo Amato, specifically called for a boycott of the film version of The Da Vinci Code; he said the movie is "full of calumnies, offences, and historical and theological errors."

Cardinal Francis Arinze, in a documentary called "The Da Vinci Code: A Masterful Deception," urged unspecified legal action against the makers of the film. "Those who blaspheme Christ and get away with it are exploiting the Christian readiness to forgive and to love even those who insult us. There are some other religions which if you insult their founder they will not bejust talking. They will make it painfully clear to you," Arinze said. He is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Vatican.

Opus Dei
Stating that it does not intend to organize any boycotts, Opus Dei (the Catholic organization that is featured prominently in the novel and the film) released a statement on February 14, 2006 asking Sony Pictures to consider editing the soon-to-be-released film based on the bestseller, so that it would not contain references that it felt might be hurtful to Catholics. The statement also said Brown’s book offers a "deformed" image of the church and that Opus Dei will use the opportunity of the movie’s release to educate about the church.

On Easter, April 16, 2006, Opus Dei published an open letter by the Japanese Information Office of Opus Dei mildly proposing that Sony Pictures consider including a disclaimer on the film adaptation as a "sign of respect towards the figure of Jesus Christ, the history of the Church, and the religious beliefs of viewers." The organization also encouraged the studio to clearly label the movie as fictitious "and that any resemblance to reality is pure coincidence."

According to a statement by Manuel Sánchez Hurtado, Opus Dei Press Office Rome, in contrast to Sony Corporation’s published "Code of Conduct" the company has announced that the film will not include such a disclaimer.

American Catholic bishops
US Catholic bishops launched a website refuting the key claims in the novel that are about to be brought to the screen. The bishops are concerned about errors and serious misstatements in The Da Vinci Code. The film has also been rated morally offensive – by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting, which denounced its depiction of both the Jesus-Mary Magdalene relationship and that of Opus Dei as "deeply abhorrent."

The Peruvian Episcopal Conference (CEP) appointed the movie—and the book—as part of a "systematic attack on the Catholic Church" [12]. Furthermore, the Archbishop of Lima, a Cardinal and member of Opus Dei, Juan Luis Cipriani urged his community not to see the film: "If someone goes (to see the movie), they are giving money to those who hurt the faith. It's not a problem of fiction; if truth is not respected, what arises we could call white glove terrorism."

Cannes film festival
During a preview for movie critics in Cannes, the main climax of the film, when Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) discloses Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tatou) that she is a "without a doubt" the decendant of Jesus Christ, was met with thunderous laughter. Nearing the end of the screening, the conclusion of the movie was met with boos instead of the usual applause.

The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) has expressed concern about Silas' character giving albinos a bad name. However, the filmmakers did not change his appearance. See also evil albino.

Although the Da Vinci code was passed by Chinese censors, it was abruptly removed from public view, by order of the Chinese government, after "a remarkable run in China, grossing over $13 million". Its last screening was made on the 9th of June 2006.

No explanation was given.

Faroe Islands
The biggest cinema in the Faroe Islands, Havnar Bio, decided to boycott the film, effectively blocking it from the other smaller cinemas, who rely on second-hand films from this source, because it seems to be blasphemous in their point of view [16]. Havnar Bio is privately owned, and their decision is based on their own private opinion.

A private initiative by the individual Herluf Sørensen has arranged the movie to be played, despite the boycott by Havnar bio. The movie opened at the Nordic House in the Faroe Islands on the 5th June 2006.

See The Da Vinci Code in the Philippines

Christian groups in this mostly Buddhist country protested the film and called for it to be banned. On May 16, 2006, the Thai Censorship Committee issued a ruling that the film would be shown, but that the last 10 minutes would be cut. Also, some Thai subtitles were to be edited to change their meaning and passages from the Bible would also be quoted at the beginning and end of the film.

However, the following day, Sony Pictures appealed the ruling, saying it would pull the film if the decision to cut it was not reversed. The censorship panel then voted 6-5 that the film could be shown uncut, but that a disclaimer would precede and follow the film, saying it was a work of fiction.

The National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) wrote to Information, Communications and the Arts Minister to register their "strongest objection" to the release of the film and requested that it be banned. The Media Development Authority, however, passed the unedited version of the movie, albeit with a NC16 rating, a restriction for children below the age of 16.

The film was banned outright in Samoa after church leaders watching a pre-release showing filed a complaint to film censors.

There was a huge outcry in many states by the Christian minorities to ban the film from screening in India for the perceived anti-Christian message. This issue has even brought the minister responsible to view the film along with the senior Catholic representatives.

In the end, the movie was allowed to release without any cuts but with an A (Adults Only) certification from the Central Board for Film Certification and a 15-second Disclaimer added at the end stating that the movie was purely a tale of fiction. However the movie was delayed by a week by which time the grey market was flooded with pirated copies of the movie.

The screening of the film Da Vinci Code has been banned in Punjab, Goa, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh..

Later, the Andhra Pradhesh High Court quashed the State Government's order banning the screening of the film in the state . The Indian censor board however had cleared the movie for release on Friday,2 June. The Supreme Court of India also rejected petitions calling for a ban on the film, saying the plot which suggests Jesus was married was fiction and not offensive .

Pakistan on June 3rd, 2006 banned cinemas from showing "The Da Vinci Code" because it contained what officials called blasphemous material about Jesus. The authorities decided to ban it out of respect for the feelings of the country's Christians, which makes up about 3 percent of Pakistan's 150 million people.

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