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Last Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007, 15:04 GMT
Gibson row causes ratings rethink
A scene from Apocalypto
Apocalypto is set in the last days of the Mayan civilisation
Italy may change the way films are rated after its cinema review board ruled that Mel Gibson's graphic epic Apocalypto was suitable for all ages.

A consumer group has begun a legal attempt to change the certificate so under-14s do not see its violence.

Culture minister Francesco Rutelli said he would look on Monday at the current system, which was "now 45 years old and no longer suited to current times".

Apocalypto - rated 18 in the UK - depicts the decline of a Mayan kingdom.

It features violent scenes of human sacrifice, and censors in countries including Germany, Poland and Hungary have also considered it unsuitable for those aged 17 and below.

Viewers in France must be at least 12. However, some countries - including Belgium, Finland, Sweden and Denmark - have yet to release the film.


Apocalypto opened in Italy on Friday with a universal rating.

Mel Gibson on the set of Apocalypto
The film, by Mel Gibson (centre), topped North America's chart
But consumer group Codacons said it would appeal against the ratings decision in court.

"The film is probably very beautiful and well done," Carlo Rienzi, the organisation's president, said.

"However, minors must be protected more than the economic interests of film production companies."

Mr Rienzi claimed his group was not advocating censorship, but would seek court action to have children younger than 14 banned from attending the movie.

The film entered the North American box office chart at number one and has earned a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign-language film.

Last month Italy's board of censors, which is usually made up of parents, industry experts and a psychologist, gave it a universal rating.

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