Morocco Clears 'Exodus' for Theatrical Run After Edits
Two lines of dialogue have been removed from the Ridley Scott film, according to the Morocco Cinematography Center
Sometimes one word is all it takes. Or, in the case of Exodus: Gods and Kings, two lines, which have now been cut from the film to appease Moroccan censors.
Despite major parts of Ridley Scott’s biblical blockbuster having been shot in Morocco, the film was banned in the north African country last month before its premiere when a review board objected to a scene in which Christian Bale’s Moses receives messages from a figure — actually an 11-year-old boy — that could be interpreted as representing god.
Physical representations of god are strictly forbidden in Islam, and the film was also banned in Egypt and the Middle East’s biggest box-office market, the United Arab Emirates, where there were added complaints that the film contained historical inaccuracies.
But following discussions between the Morocco Cinematography Center, Scott and 20th Century Fox, the movie will now finally be making its way to theaters in Morocco. In a statement, the Center thanked Fox and Scott, saying that "after multiple exchanges" which were "very courteous and very professional" they had agreed "on an exceptional basis to accept these reservations and make requested adjustments, namely the removal of two sound extracts with references to the Divine personification."
It added that the film "may again shortly appear in theaters."
Fox couldn't immediately be reached for further comment.
Exodus is by no means the first film to have faced issues in the Middle East. Darren Aronofsky’s Noah was banned across much of the region in early 2014 for its depictions of a religious prophet. In 2012, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo never made it to cinema screens in the Gulf region after producers rejected cuts proposed by censors.
Jan. 7, 7.57 a.m. Updated to include statement from Moroccan Cinematography Center