Redings cancel appearances due to skinhead violence

BERLIN — The directors of German skinhead pic “Oi! Warning” have been forced to cancel appearances after receiving death threats from real-life skinheads angered by its gay theme.

Police have told directors Dominik and Benjamin Reding they could not guarantee their safety in the wake of surging neo-Nazi violence and growing tension over government efforts to ban the far-right National Democratic Party. Neo-Nazis have been blamed for three deaths this year, including the fatal beating of a Mozambique emigrant in June.

Benjamin Reding has said a love scene between a young skinhead (played by Sascha Backhaus) and a punk (Jens Veith) has riled skinheads in eastern Germany. (Punks and anarchists have long been the traditional rivals of right-wing skinheads and neo-Nazis.)

Critical contentions

Film has received mixed reviews locally, with some critics objecting to the B&W stylized images, evocative of Leni Riefenstahl’s work, which they say idealize the skinhead subculture.

Others complain that the pic’s failure to specifically label the skinhead characters as right-wing or neo-Nazi is irresponsible. The Redings have responded that they wanted to avoid cliches.

Pic has won a number of awards on the international fest circuit and preemed at Sundance this year. But its subject matter made it difficult for the Redings to find a domestic distributor until small, Potsdam-based Nighthawks Pictures agreed to take it. Pic was released locally Oct. 19.

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