Egypt bans Ridley Scott’s Exodus

Hollywood film based on the Biblical book censored "out of respect for Egyptians' feelings"

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Egypt has banned Ridley Scott’s latest movie Exodus: Gods and Kings because of “historical mistakes”.

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The film, which stars Christian Bale as Moses, depicts Jewish slaves building the Pyramids, although they are believed to have been built about 1,000 years before. It also shows an earthquake – not a miracle by Moses – causing the Red Sea to part and the Jewish people to escape from the pursuing Egyptian army.

“One of the key historical mistakes made by this film is that it claims the Jews were the ones who built the Pyramids,” the head of the state censorship board, Abdul Sattar Fathi, told local reporters. “The film treats Moses as an army general, not as a prophet. Furthermore, it shows ancient Egyptians as a mob group persecuting peaceful Jews. Our board has refused this out of respect for Egyptians’ feelings.”

There are also reports that the movie will not be released in Morocco, despite being partly shot there and officially approved. Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and The Da Vinci Code were also banned in Egypt. 

In November, Ridley Scott incited a deluge of criticism on Twitter after saying the decision to cast white American and European actors was the only way he could secure financial backing for the film.

He told Variety, “I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such. I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.”

Earlier this month, Rupert Murdoch – who owns the studio producing the film – also sparked anger after tweeting “Since when are Egyptians not white?” He subsequently backtracked.

Exodus: Gods and Kings was released in the UK on Boxing Day.

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Read our three-star review and watch the trailer here.