Mel Gibson movie The Passion Of Christ set for US release in February.

THE FEATURE film The Passion Of Christ starring Mel Gibson is set for US release on 25th February, 2004 (Ash Wednesday). The film is being distributed by Newmarket and Gibson's Icon Productions. Icon will distribute the film in the UK and Australia, where the company has already established distributor operations. Gibson's somewhat controversial film has drawn complaints from some Jewish leaders, who say it suggests Jews were responsible for Christ's death, while conservative Catholics who have seen the film have called it a powerful rendering of Christ's crucifixion. Gibson spent a reported $30 million to produce the movie, which he has defended as faithful to the Gospels. In response to worries by Jewish groups, he has said the film is intended "to inspire, not offend." The Passion Of Christ stars Jim Caviezel as Christ and Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene. The dialogue is in Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic with English subtitles.

In related news, James Caviezel is slated to speak at the Elevate Conference in Dallas, Texas, where he plans to share his thoughts on his role portraying Christ. 5,000-7,000 young people are expected to attend the event, which is designed to encourage them to fuse their faith, life and career. CR

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