Russian distributor to ban "Borat" film

A government agency said it would refuse to grant permission for Sacha Baron Cohen's controversial comedy "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" to be shown in theaters in neighboring Russia, its distributor here said Thursday. The Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography said the film could offend some viewers and contained material that "might seem disparaging in relation to certain ethnic groups and religions," according to Vadim Ivanov, theatrical sales director at Twentieth Century Fox C.I.S. Ivanov said he hoped the agency would relent and that the film, which packed theaters to debut as the top weekend movie in the United States, will premiere in Russia as scheduled on November 30. The agency informed the company in a letter that it would not grant the permission required to show the film in theaters, but later said the decision was not official, Ivanov noted. "This story is not over," he said.