German critics on ‘War’ path over embargo

German film critics are up in arms over Paramount’s worldwide embargo on reviews of Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds” until the film’s day-and-date release next Wednesday.
The country’s leading film critics association launched an official protest Wednesday against what it calls “a violation of basic constitutional rights.”
In an open letter, the German association of film critics called on its members to protest the “War of the Worlds” embargo by publicizing details of the studio’s demands and criticizing the distributor’s no-review policy. The association also called on its members to violate any future embargoes or to refuse to review films where an embargo is imposed.
“We know this (embargoes on film reviews) is common in the U.S., but it has never happened here in Germany before, and we won’t stand for it,” Andrea Dittgen, head of the German critics association, said in an interview. “We believe this violates basic freedom of speech rights and is illegal under German law.”
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