Cinemas in EU state boycott Hayao Miyazaki movie over ‘Russia links’ – media

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Lithuanian theater owners claim that the film’s distribution company is tied to Moscow

Every single cinema in Lithuania will boycott the latest anime film from legendary Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki over its distribution firm’s links to Russia, Lithuanian state news outlet LRT reported on Thursday.

The final film of Miyazaki’s six-decade career, ‘The Boy and the Heron’, was due to hit theaters in the country before the end of the year. That was until cinema operators and distributors released a statement on Thursday announcing the movie's effective cancellation.

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According to the statement, the company that owns the distribution rights to the film in the Baltic region – an Estonian firm named Artgene – is “linked to Russia.” The statement did not elaborate on this alleged link, but nevertheless announced that the movie would not be shown in any Lithuanian cinemas.

“The Lithuanian film community calls on the other Baltic countries to react to this information and Russia’s potentially harmful actions to the Baltic economy and the film industry, and also to prevent the aggressor state from doing business,” the statement added.

Bizarrely, the statement claimed that Artgene threatened that the country of Lithuania “would be publicly slandered in the world for sabotaging the film.” No evidence was provided for this claim.

The decision is not unusual for Lithuania, whose government has been one of the staunchest backers of Ukraine on the world stage. As Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis pushed his Western allies for more sanctions and military aid to Kiev earlier this year, Culture Minister Simonas Kairys announced a “mental quarantine” on Russian culture, art, and media. 

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