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Last Updated: Friday, 26 March, 2004, 15:48 GMT
Christ film stirs deep passions
By Caroline Briggs
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Sabina (l) and Katherine Aniceto (r)
Sabina (left) and Katherine Aniceto (right) said they enjoyed the film
The Passion of the Christ, which has sparked controversy across the globe, opened in UK cinemas on Friday.

Some filmgoers leaving a west London cinema after the first screening were too stunned to talk.

But the general response to Mel Gibson's depiction of the final hours of Jesus' life was overwhelmingly positive.

Seamus Melinn, 34, from Hammersmith, west London, said the violence was "amazing, but within context".

"I think some people will like it, I think some people won't because it is very disturbing in parts," he told BBC News Online.

I feel shattered now, totally exhausted, but the film has given me a sense of peace
Majed Najjar
"Overall, it's a very good movie, well directed and Mel Gibson has done a good job."

Another viewer, Majed Najjar, said the film had affected him deeply.

"In a nutshell, it was brilliant. It has stuck very closely to the Bible story and that is exactly what I wanted to see.

"I feel shattered now, totally exhausted, but the film has given me a sense of peace."

Mr Najjar's wife, May, said the film offered something to all religions.

My mum literally cried all the way through it
Katherine Aniceto
She said: "I think everyone should go and see it - Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Buddhists.

"Obviously everyone has their own religion, but it is very important to understand each other's beliefs."

Anon Singtothong, 27, originally from Thailand but now lives in west London, said: "I wanted to see the film because I wanted to learn more about Christianity, and I think I have done that."

And another in the cinema, Sabina Aniceto, said the film upset her.

"I'm feeling very emotional at the moment," she said. "It is a powerful film of the last hours of Jesus' life and it gets that across extremely well."

Her daughter, Katherine, added: "I have never seen anything like it before, it is a very moving and serious film.

"My mum literally cried all the way through it."


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