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July 20, 1987| Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

It took eight years, but the South African government's censoring body, the Publications Appeals Board, finally has given approval to the release of the 1979 comedy "Monty Python's Life of Brian" in that country--but only in one cinema in Johannesburg. The board ruled that the film, which parodies religious epics and ends with the characters breaking into song while being crucified, was not blasphemous. "But many Christians . . . would find the film offensive for its satirical use of analogies from the life of Christ," the board said.

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