Egypt bans Matrix Reloaded on religious grounds and for excessive violence
by Maggie Michael
CAIRO, Egypt - Egyptian censors have banned the international box-office hit The Matrix Reloaded on religious grounds and what they described as the film’s excessive violence.
The head of the Egyptian censorship body in charge of audio and visual productions said Tuesday that the country’s highest film committee decided Monday not to allow the movie to be shown.
“There is no specific scene to which the committee objected but it is about the movie as a whole,” Madkour Thabit, the head of censorship body, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The 15-member committee is made up of film critics, professors, writers and psychologists. It watched the Warner Bros. movie and held a discussion before voting to ban it.
In a statement, the committee said that “despite the high technology and fabulous effects of the movie, it explicitly handles the issue of existence and creation, which are related to the three divine religions, which we all respect and believe in.”
It said the movie “tackles the issue of the creator and his creations, searching the origin of creation and the issue of compulsion and free will.” It added that “such religious issues, raised in previous times, caused crises.”
The Matrix Reloaded is the second sequel of a trilogy directed and written by Larry and Andy Wachowski.
The first installment, The Matrix, was released in 1999. The third sequel concludes this November with The Matrix Revolutions.
The Matrix Reloaded stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Monica Bellucci.
The statement said violent scenes in the movie also played a role in the decision to ban it.
“Screening the movie may cause troubles and harm social peace,” the statement said.
The first Matrix film was shown in Egypt, but was criticized by some Islamic newspapers after they claimed it espoused Zionism.
“The press launched a campaign to stop showing the movie, saying that it reflects Zionist ideas, and promotes Jewish and Zionist beliefs,” said Wael Abdel Fatah, an Egyptian movie critic.
Abdel Fatah added “that is why they are very cautious, to avoid any criticism this year.”