Date: 9th February 2001

Hannibal Sparks Rows In Australia

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS follow-up HANNIBAL has sparked a censorship row in Australia even before its first screening Down Under.

The film, about a cannibalistic serial killer played by ANTHONY HOPKINS, has been rated MA (MATURE ACCOMPANIED), allowing children under 15 to view the movie with an adult. But the rating, by Australia's OFFICE OF FILM AND LITERATURE CLASSIFICATION, has been blasted by one of the country's most prominent film critics and by parents.

Australian newspaper THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD's headline of film critic LYNDEN BARBER's review read, "Letting children see this is lunacy". Barber walked out of a preview screening of the film - he says, "I blinked in disbelief before walking out of the cinema - the first time in my career as a film writer that I have been literally unable to stomach a film." Barber said Hannibal, which is due for release next week (begs12FEB01) in the country, should have been rated R (Restricted to adults only), the highest censorship rating possible.

And the AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF STATE SCHOOLS ORGANIZATION, which represents parents, criticized the censorship board for being more concerned about sex than violence in films. (MCM/WNWR)

Source: WENN