"What Philippe Caland, the writer and director of the film, has done is inappropriate to Buddhism and has offended Buddhists worldwide," said Chularat Bunyakorn, chief of the secretariat of the Buddhist Monks Council in Thailand's capital Bangkok on Tuesday.

   

"Buddha statues are objects which deserve respect and the Foreign Ministry must take action immediately," she said in a country where the head is the holiest part of the body and is not touched by anyone else.

   

The council had written to the Foreign Ministry urging it to protest formally to the producer of the movie, due to open in Los Angeles on 24 September.

   

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the Thai consul in Los Angeles had been asked to find out about the film before deciding on the action needed.

 

Outcry

   

The public outcry was raised after the Thai-language newspaper Matichon published the poster on its front page on Tuesday with the caption, "Buddhism Humiliated".

   

The advertisement features Caland, who also stars in the YBG Productions film, sitting atop a Buddha statue with his feet - the least holy part of the body to Thai Buddhists and never pointed at anyone - dangling by its eyes.

Nearly 95% of Thais belong to the
Buddhist faith

   

The film is about an independent Hollywood film producer who struggles to keep his head above water as everything falls apart around him, according to its Web site,

www.ybg.com/hollywoodbuddha.

   

Bolstered by mantras and a statue of the Buddha rented for $2000 a month, he turns his obsessive need to release his last feature into a moneymaking venture, it says.