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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
Clooney film 'cut by Gulf censor'
George Clooney won an Oscar for his performance in Syriana
George Clooney's oil drama Syriana has premiered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with two minutes cut by government censors, reports have said.

Scenes cut included mistreatment of Asian workers in the Gulf and references to a late Saudi king, said the Agence France Presse news agency.

The film is showing in Egypt but more Middle East openings were unlikely, its distributor is quoted as saying.

Censors reportedly took four months to examine Syriana before its UAE release.

"We would never allow anything that is disrespectful to the country or the president, causes security problems, insults religions, exhibits immorality like nudity or promotes vices like alcohol and drugs," Aleem Jumaa of the Dubai censorship office told the agency.

Syriana, he said, took longer than normal to pass because his office felt it required a second opinion from authorities in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the seven-emirate federation.

A brief shot showing the late Saudi King Fahd in a photograph was removed from the film, the agency reported, as was a comment made by Matt Damon's character linking the business interests of the Bin Laden's family to the holy city of Mecca.

Meanwhile Beirut-based distributor Italia Films has changed its mind about showing Brokeback Mountain in the Gulf region.

Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain won three awards at the Oscars in March

A spokesman said its decision was the result of negative feedback it received from government ministries regarding the film's homosexual content.

"We asked whether a film with such a subject would be approved," Jean Shaheen of Italia Films is quoted as saying. "They told us they would rather not deal with it."

Homosexuality is a serious offence in the Gulf, punishable by flogging and imprisonment.

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