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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
Church acts against Da Vinci film
Audrey Tautou and Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code
The film will be premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on 17 May
The Anglican Church in the city of Sydney is to show its own video in 250 cinemas to coincide with the release of The Da Vinci Code film.

It will tell "the truth about Jesus", according to church officials, who are concerned that the film will "mislead people about the truth".

The 20-second trailer depicts Jesus's reaction to the book's claim that the church lied about a secret bloodline.

The Dan Brown novel explores the theme that Jesus has living descendants.

The trailer tells cinema-goers about a special website which challenges the truth about the theories in The Da Vinci Code.

The book has sold more than 40 million copies. The film, which stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou, will be released around the world on 19 May.

Information void

Bishop Robert Forsyth, chairman of Anglican Media Sydney, said: "We are not afraid of the film. We are not seeking to discourage people from seeing it.

"But we are well aware of the power popular films have in filling the information void about Jesus."

"The concept for the cinema advert was to engage with the same questions raised by The Da Vinci Code, but then also ask how Jesus himself might respond to these claims," said church spokesman Allan Dowthwaite.

The Da Vinci Code poster on Rome's church of St Pantaleo
A poster for the film covering a church in Rome has been removed

The video is also intended as a publicity campaign for the church, with the aim of encouraging at least 10% of the city's population to become active church-goers by 2012.

Last month, a giant poster advertising the Da Vinci Code film was removed from scaffolding covering a church in Rome following complaints.

The rector of St Pantaleo said the poster advertised "something that is against Christ and against the church".

Catholic group Opus Dei, portrayed as murderous and power-crazed in the best-selling novel, has asked for a disclaimer to be put in the film.

Bur studio Sony has insisted that the movie is a work of fiction and is "not meant to criticise any group, religious or otherwise", a spokesman said in February.

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