The North Korean government had issued a statement Wednesday alleging that screening the film at the festival would encourage “terrorism,” but the festival said no such screening had been planned.
Dieter Kosslick, the festival’s chief, met with the North Korean ambassador in Berlin on Thursday and explained to him that the festival never planned to screen “The Interview.” The ambassador understands this, a spokesperson for the festival told Variety. So, everything is fine? “I hope so,” said the spokesperson.
The misunderstanding may be due to the fact that Sony will release “The Interview” in Germany on Feb. 5, the same day that the festival starts.
The festival spokesperson told Variety earlier today: “The film will not be shown and it was never planned to show it. North Korea must have mixed up the German release date on Feb. 5 of ‘The Interview’ with the start of the Berlinale on Feb. 5.”
The North Korean statement issued Wednesday stated: “The screening of the movie that hurts the dignity of the supreme leadership of North Korea and openly agitates state-sponsored terrorism has nothing to do with the ‘freedom of expression’ touted by Germany. It is evidently agitation of terrorism quite contrary to the purpose and nature of the Berlin International Film Festival.”
It ended: “The U.S. and Germany should immediately stop the farce of screening the anti-North Korean movie at the film festival. Those who attempt at terrorist acts and commit politically-motivated provocations and those who join them in violation of the sovereignty and dignity of North Korea will never be able to escape merciless punishment.”