North Korea has vowed “merciless punishment” if the satirical film The Interview is shown at the Berlin International Film Festival, despite the fact the film is not scheduled to be shown.
The United States and Germany “should immediately stop the farce of screening the anti-DPRK movie at the film festival,” Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry was quoted on Friday as saying by the Korean Central News Agency. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the official title of North Korea.
“Those who attempt at terrorist acts and commit politically motivated provocations and those who join them in violation of the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK will never be able to escape merciless punishment,” the state mouthpiece said.
The slapstick comedy is not due to be shown at this year’s Berlinale, which traditionally showcases highbrow contributions to global cinema.
A search for The Interview on the festival’s website turned up a reference to a 1985 screening of a 5-minute animation of the same name, depicting an interview with a caricatured jazz musician.
The recent 2014 film, which tells the story of two hapless US journalists involved in a CIA plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is due to open in German cinemas on February 5, the first day of the festival.
North Korea has previously described the film as an act of war.
An extensive cyber attack against production company Sony Pictures in the US and physical threats against movie theatres have been linked to North Korea by US intelligence.
Sony briefly pulled the movie after the threats, before releasing it online to considerable commercial success.
The Berlin festival, also known as the Berlinale, is scheduled to run until next month, with the awards ceremony on February 14.