While Interviewgate has come and gone in the United States, the freedom of speech battle that the Seth Rogen comedy has generated will soon spread to Europe. With The Interview set to hit theaters throughout Germany on February 5th, North Korean officials have mistakenly lashed out at the Berlin International Film Festival for “instigating terrorism” in a strongly worded statement. However, the famed film festival, which coincidentally kicks off the same day as The Interview‘s German release, has nothing to do with the film’s arrival in that country, the Hollywood Reporter writes.
Somewhere along the line, because of the February 5th start dates, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry misinterpreted that The Interview was an official entrant in the 65th annual Berlinale. As a result, North Korean’s state-run broadcast issued a statement demanding that the film not screen at the festival, which it’s not and never was scheduled to. An organizer for the film festival spoke to the North Korean ambassador to Germany to clear up the misunderstanding.
“[The submission] has nothing whatsoever to do with the freedom of expression, nor does it suit the character of the Berlin Film Festival, and is clearly an act instigating terrorism,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The West’s idea of freedom of expression would turn out to mean the freedom of violence and terrorism.” The statement also accused Germany of “repeating its shameful history” of the Holocaust and aligning itself with the United States’ scheming if The Interview screened at the festival.
The film – which caused a rift between Sony Pictures, theater owners and First Amendment protectors like Barack Obama and countless other politicians – is creating a similar scenario in the European Union in the wake of the Paris shooting. While screening The Interview might make some weary Europeans fearful because it is “instigating terrorism,” others view the film’s release as a method of standing up for their freedoms.