The U.S. political comedy film The Interview depicting the assassination of the North Korean leader should not be shown in Russian movie theaters, says Mikhail Shvydkoi, Russian special presidential representative for international cultural cooperation and former culture minister.
"I would not show this film in our movie theaters," Shvydkoi told Interfax.
"It should be taken into account that we have certain historical relations with this country [North Korea]. And, what counts most, we fortunately have no tradition of insulting a foreign president. The record shows that we might not spare and not sympathize with our own leaders, but we display tact toward others, and this is right," Shvydkoi said.
"I don't see any necessity in demonstrating the film here," he said.
"And actually it seems to me that tact should be exercised in art, especially when it concerns political subjects," he said.
The comedy's plot involves the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by two journalists instructed by the CIA. Starring in the film are Seth Rogen and James Franco.
The North Korean authorities had earlier harshly criticized the film's plot.
Sony Pictures first canceled the film's screening anywhere in the U.S. and decided not to release its copies on any physical media due to a terror attack threat. Before this, four largest movie chains in the U.S. had canceled the screening of The Interview. In addition, the major Canadian film distribution company Cineplex Entertainment LP operating movie theaters with over 1,600 screens had also decided not to show The Interview.
In the end, the film was screened in a limited number of theaters across the U.S. on December 25, as was previously planned. The film is also available online for a fee.
A North Korean diplomat said in an interview with Associated Press in commenting on the decision to show The Interview that the DPRK would condemn the film's release but was likely to refrain from "a physical reaction." At the same time, the diplomat described the film as an "unpardonable mockery of our sovereignty and dignity of our supreme leader."
Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing CEO Anton Sirenko told Interfax on December 17 that The Interview's release in Russia was scheduled for January 29. However, the company said the next day that the release was postponed indefinitely.
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