This article originally appeared in
June 19, 2007
'Da Vinci Code' under investigation
By ERIC J. LYMAN
TAORMINA, Sicily -- More than a year after its premiere, "The Da Vinci Code"
is being investigated by Italian state attorneys on the grounds that it is
"obscene" from a religious perspective.
Earlier this year, a complaint against
the film was filed by a group of clergy
near the Italian village of Civitavecchia,
where the state prosecutor said it
would open a criminal investigation
into the film. The complaint says the
film violates Article 528 of Italy's Penal
The complaint names 10 people,
including director Ron Howard and
author Dan Brown.
The investigation means the case will
have its day in court in the seaside
port village about 40 miles north of
Rome, though a judge could simply
elect to throw the charges out. But it is
significant that the state prosecutor
agreed to investigate it.
It is unclear what the unnamed complainants -- reported by the state
prosecutor to all be Catholic clergy from the area -- are seeking.
Under the terms of Article 528 of the Penal Code, if found guilty the
defendants will have a criminal record in Italy and would each face jail time
of at least three months and fines of at least €103 ($139). Jail time is
capped at three years, but there is no upward limit on the fines, legal experts
said. The defendants cannot be extradited for the charges but they can be
apprehended if they are already on Italian soil.
The development comes as Howard is beginning preproduction work here
on "Angels and Demons," the highly awaited sequel to "Da Vinci," also
authored by Brown.
Asked why the case is being opened now, some 13 months after the film
debuted at least year's Festival de Cannes, an official at the Civitavecchia
state prosecutor said he wasn't sure.
"I don't know," the official said in a telephone interview. "Maybe they (the
clergy who filed the complaint) have just seen the film."
Both the book and film version of "Da Vinci" attracted widespread criticism
from religious groups, but this appears to be the first time parties have taken
legal action against the work.