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Friday, Jan. 30, 2004

OF NOTE

Singapore allows controversial film

SINGAPORE (AP) Tightly controlled Singapore was to allow the controversial French film "Irreversible" to open on Thursday without censors' cuts -- another apparent attempt to shake off the city-state's dull image and become a center for the arts.

"Edits would mar its artistic integrity," the regulatory Media Development Authority said in a statement.

The film features a 10-minute-long rape scene, and another scene where a man is bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher. French director Gaspar Noe's film is about a man's vengeful search for his lover's rapist.

"The Films Appeal Committee decided that the film can be aired in its entirety as the scenes were contextually relevant and not exploitative," the statement continued.

"Irreversible" has been screened in at least five major festivals around the world.

Singapore snipped a same-sex kissing scene from Nicole Kidman's film "The Hours" and threw out Kate Winslet's nude pose in the blockbuster "Titanic."

It also banned the American comedy "Zoolander" about a man brainwashed into assassinating the prime minister of Malaysia, deeming it "controversial."

The government only recently allowed the sale of Cosmopolitan magazine and has given permission for the hit HBO series "Sex and the City" to be screened on late night cable TV.

It says censorship is necessary for the city-state to maintain its "traditional Asian values" but is now attempting to shake off its stuffy image to remake itself into a regional media hub.



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