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Gibson trims ‘Passion’ violence, new release setcomment (0)

March 5, 2005

Mel Gibson has trimmed five to six minutes of violent scenes from his movie, “The Passion of the Christ.” The new version, “The Passion Recut,” will open on 500 to 750 screens beginning March 11. The movie’s running time was initially 127 minutes.
“The Passion of the Christ” sparked a huge controversy, with Jewish leaders accusing Gibson of portraying Jews as responsible for Jesus’ death.
Nevertheless, the film grossed $370.3 million in U.S. theaters and $3.2 million in video rentals since its initial release last year.
“There are no new scenes, and the cuts are limited to the more violent aspects of the film, if that’s the right term,” Bruce Davey, Gibson’s partner at Icon Productions, told Daily Variety. “The scourging scene in particular has been substantially adjusted.”
“I can understand why Gibson removed the violence,” said Frank K. Flinn, adjunct professor of religious studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Flinn is a longtime “Passion” critic and a practicing Catholic.
He said that if Christ had been beaten as badly as Gibson’s portrayal, “he would have died at the pillar because three-quarters of his torso was flayed.”
A spokesperson for Newmarket Films, the movie’s distributor, said that Gibson recut the film to soften it and make it more accessible to a wider audience.
Although the original “The Passion of the Christ” received an R rating, Gibson hoped that his recut version would earn a PG-13. 
But even with the deleted scenes, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave it an R. So Gibson decided to release the new version to theaters without a rating. “Studios don’t (release a movie unrated) very often,” said Joan Graves, chair of the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Board.

Newmarket said that it currently has no plans to release a DVD or video version of “The Passion Recut.” (RNS)
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