Steven Spielberg's Amistad makes its debut in Jamaica today--at least most of it does.

Government-backed censors have cut a chunk of the film's opening scene--in which mutinous slaves chop up their European keepers.

You see, more than 90 percent of the Caribbean isle's population is descended from slaves brought from West Africa, and the Jamaican Cinematographic Authority has deemed the revolt too graphic for island viewers.

The censoring board is also prohibiting people under 18 from seeing the film. "It's an adult movie," says the Rev. Stanford Webley, the Cinematographic Authority's president. (In the States, Amistad has an R or restricted rating--meaning those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent.)

Such action has ticked off many islanders who see the censorship as a government attempt to spoon-feed a particular version of history to Jamaicans. "Everything that deals with the history of our people is treated with the conspiracy of silence," Rex Nettleford, vice chancellor at the University of the West Indies, tells Associated Press. "It's a real disappointment."

Another outspoken critic is, natch, the guy who's running the three theaters screening Amistad.

"I associate censorship with a closed society," Douglas Graham tells the wire service. "We live in an open society. I don't think any part of the film should be deleted, cut or censored."

Up for four Oscars, Spielberg's flick follows the overlooked historical episode of the slave ship La Amistad, the bloody uprising of the captured Africans aboard and their subsequent trial.

Calls to Spielberg's publicist and DreamWorks--the studio behind the film--were not immediately returned.

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