Helmer can’t Czech cut-rate DVD sales

Court ruling allows ODS to hand out 'Lenin' discs

German director Wolfgang Becker can’t catch a break in the Czech Republic.

First his hit pic “Good Bye, Lenin!” was turned into propaganda by the Czech political party ODS. Now his fight to stop a Czech distrib’s cut-rate sale of DVDs of the pic to the party has been nixed by a local court.

“It’s scandalous,” Becker said of the Czech court ruling that allowed the ODS to continue handing out the discs. “Apparently, the Berlusconization of politics has already reached the Czech Republic.”

The conservative ODS, which was leading in the polls, has distributed DVDs of the film with its own campaign ads ahead of the elections, which were held Friday and Saturday.

Pic follows a young man who lovingly tries to persuade his ailing diehard communist mother that East Germany still exists after she awakens from a coma. But its title alone seems to have been enough to serve the ODS campaign, which portrays the ruling Social Democrats as being cozy with the Communist Party.

“To use the film today as anti-communist propaganda is absurd. … To simply reduce the film to its title simply shows the ignorance of the party,” Becker said.

The helmer’s ire isn’t directed entirely at the ODS. He and his production company X Filme Creative Pool also accuse Czech distrib Hollywood Classic Entertainment of illicitly selling 500,000 DVDs of the film to the party at a cut-rate price of 45¢ per copy.

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