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September 17, 2000 01:32pm
Cyprus Police Halt Screening of Banned French Film
Source: Reuters/Variety

(NICOSIA) -- Police raided a Nicosia cinema late on Friday and confiscated a French film banned by Cypriot censors because of its explicit sex scenes.

Police said the Acropole cinema in Nicosia was screening the film ``Romance'' to about 10 members of a film club when officers burst in at around 9.30 p.m.

Crime prevention squad officer Kyriacos Alexandrou rejected suggestions that the screening was a private showing, permitted under Cypriot law, because it was at a public venue.

``When the law says a private screening it means a place which is completely private such as a house. But you can't show a banned film in a licensed facility and say it's for a specific group,'' he said.

The cinema set up a film club in June. ``Romance'' was its first screening and had been running for the past week.

A club member said the owners at first refused to hand over the film, but relented after consulting their lawyers. The film club was due to meet later on Saturday to discuss what to do.

``This is not a question of a particular film club, a particular cinema or particular individual interest,'' the club member said. ``We are talking here about a whole principle, about censorship and freedom of expression in Cyprus and we will continue to campaign on this issue.''

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