View Full Version : Rotterdam Showing of Van Gogh Film Canceled

Monday, January 31st, 2005, 12:27 AM
Sunday, January 30, 2005 Last updated 2:24 p.m. PT

Slain Dutch director's film canceled


ROTTERDAM, Netherlands -- Citing security concerns, organizers of the Rotterdam Film Festival called off Sunday's screening of a short film by murdered Dutch moviemaker Theo van Gogh that has outraged some Muslims.

A suspected Islamic extremist allegedly shot and stabbed van Gogh to death in November shortly after the release of the film, "Submission," which is a fierce critique of the treatment of women under Islam written by an anti-immigration member of parliament.

Column Productions, which holds the rights to the film, said the decision to cancel the showing was made "on the basis of security concerns," but did not elaborate.

"We can say nothing more about the nature of this case, apart from saying that we have been advised to be careful with screenings like the one intended in Rotterdam," the company said in a statement.

The decision drew criticism from some directors and artists at the festival, who argued that limiting free expression was giving in to terrorists.

Another van Gogh film, "06/05," about the murder of Dutch anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002, premiered at the festival Sunday evening.

Van Gogh was putting the final touches on that full-length movie when he was slain Nov. 2. His throat was cut and a note left by the killer threatened jihad, or Islamic holy war, against nonbelievers.

Mohammed Bouyeri, 26, has been charged with murder and terrorism and is scheduled to go on trial this summer, along with 12 other people tied to the killing.

Van Gogh's slaying was followed by dozens of arson attacks against mosques and counterattacks on Christian churches over a two-week period.

"In the Netherlands, the cellars opened up and the hate for foreigners that had been penned up for so long came gushing out," historian Geert Mak told an audience of international filmmakers who had hoped to see "Submission" on Sunday.

Van Gogh's movies often have been screened at the Rotterdam festival, one of the world's largest gatherings of independent and experimental filmmakers. The festival runs through Feb. 6.