It’s hard to think about a film release that has been accompanied by so much politically charged crossfire as Seth Rogen’s “The Interview”. Allegedly, North Korean hackers have invaded Sony’s network, stole thousands of passwords and threatened unspecified “attacks” in case Sony would dare to start the film. Allegedly the NSA had paralyzed the North Korean Internet as a punitive measure, which is quite absurd, as a North Korean “Internet” doesn’t really exist. At least not ouside the residence of Kim Jong-il. What we know for sure is that Sony put the film start on hold for the time being and that the American president himself stated in his Christmas address that it was the patriotic duty of all Americans to watch the film – given they would find a theather that was patriotic enough to play it.
Did anything of this actually happen – apart from the Christmas speech or was it just a brilliant PR coup from Sony? Nobody knows. At least nobody outside the NSA.
On February 5, 2015, the film was released in Germany and the crossfire entered the next round: according to “Spiegel Online” the Berlin Film Festival has been “asked with martial words” not to show the film. The fact that the Festival did never intend to do a screening at all apparently played no role in this.
On the occasion of this film launch, the great weekly newspaper “Der Freitag” made a very lovely and pleasantly unagitated special about North Korean imaginery – on a page that looked quite like the “Pyongyang daily”. My contribution to this project was an article about the Massgames together with a small insight into the self-image of the North Koreans, exemplified by two photos. I hope this would give some context to all the PR noise…