Bali has banned screenings of the first film on its 2002 nightclub bombings madeby one of Indonesia's most acclaimed directors.

Long Road to Heaven, produced by Nia Dinata, has been controversial because it examines the role of religion in the bombings.

After viewing the film, Gusti Ngurah Gde, head of Bali's film board, said there is fear the movie could stir unrest.

"If this movie is allowed to be screened in Bali, we fear people who do not understand it would trigger conflict and direct hatred at a certain group," he said in an interview with Reuters.

"If the Bali bombing tragedy is revived, this would reopen old wounds, especially among the victims."

The 2002 Bali bombings killed 202 people, including 88 Australians and 26 Britons, and badly affected tourism, the mainstay of the local economy.

Many of the victims were Balinese who lived or worked nearby. Additional local people suffered burns or other severe injuries.

The film explores the bombings through the eyes ofrelatives of the victims,including a Balinese taxi driver who lost someone in the blast.

It also examines the motives and mindset of the largely homegrown Muslim group responsible for the carnage, showing them as they plan the attacks at meetings in Thailand.

Bali is a predominately Hindu province of Indonesia, which is mainly Muslim.

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Relatives of Balinese victims of the attacks agreed the film should not be screened in Bali, Gde said.

Muslims in Bali had faced hostility and threats after the 2002 bombings and three subsequent bombings.

The film premiered last month at the Indonesian Film Festival after Dinata agreed to film censors' request to delete a scene that shows the bombers praying immediately before attacking the Bali nightclubs.