Ben-Hur is a 2016 USA historical adventure drama by Timur Bekmambetov.
Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell and Rodrigo Santoro.
The epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.
Malayisia's Film Censorship Board (LPF) said it was not to blame for the censorship of scenes involving Jesus Christ from the Hollywood remake of Ben-Hur .
LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid further said he did not recall seeing such scenes from the movie submitted, adding that it was possible the Malaysian version is a different version from those shown elsewhere. He told Malay Mail Online:
Maybe, but not by us, probably by producers when they sent the film to Malaysia, they already cut the scenes, they know (there's) some sensitivities.
Halim said he was certain that the board did not remove the scenes that included Jesus, which were pivotal to the plot of the story.
Local viewers had taken to Facebook to complain of censorship of Ben-Hur, with scenes of Jesus forming key plot points allegedly taken out.
One Facebook user, Jasmine Sia, who watched the film on Friday night, said no scenes involving Jesus was shown at all. she told Malay Mail Online:
I felt cheated. The novel from which this movie is adapted is Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ . It means Jesus is central to the plot. It was censored so much the storyline made no sense! How did Judah's mother and sister get cured from leprosy?
No, they did not show anything with regards to healing. They just appeared at the end of the movie healed. That's why it made no sense.
The local distributor of the film, United International Pictures (UIP) Malaysia, acknowledged on its official Facebook page that the local edition was not identical to that shown elsewhere, after one user named Jerry Terry Derulo pointed out that the
runtime here was 11 minutes shorter than listed on movie database IMDB.
Update: Export Version
24th September 2016. See article from themalaymailonline.com
Universal has confirmed that there is a special export version of Ben-Hur for intolerant countries that ban the depiction of other religions to their own. The latest Hollywood remake of Ben-Hur has an export version that has been edited to remove scenes
featuring Jesus Christ. A Universal spokesman explained:
We submitted into the Censor board a Studio pre-edited version which was available for countries that do not allow the depiction of prophets on film whether by law or due to local sensitivities.
We learned from past titles submitted to the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) that no Prophets are allowed to be depicted on film. In Malaysia, previous films such as Noah and Exodus which depicted prophets were banned by LPF.
UIP Malaysia said the Malaysian version which was pre-cut to a total running time of 114 minutes is also available for other countries.
LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid confirmed that LPF adopts the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia's (Jakim) guidelines for films, adding that the body tasked with overseeing religious matters and even the police are sometimes invited to
view films together. He added:
But we also have some guidelines from Jakim that any films cannot portray all the prophets or the angels, even the Satan in the context of Islam. Anything mentioned in Quran cannot be visually portrayed in the form of character, figure or drawing.