BERLIN: Director Steven Spielberg cited a “renewed cycle of hate” in society behind his decision to bring “Schindler’s List” back to movie theaters around the world, hoping it would provoke discussion.

An independent movie theater in western Germany embraced that very idea when it offered free tickets to members of the far-right Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, to its screening of the classic film January 27, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

But some members of the AfD, whose leaders have dismissed the Nazi era as a “speck of bird poop in more than 1,000 years of successful German history” and have referred to the country’s main Holocaust Memorial as “a monument of shame,” saw the offer from the Cinexx theater more as a provocation than an invitation. They have called it a “tasteless instrumentalisation” and a “senseless provocation.”

The Cinexx theater in Hachenburg, which offered the free viewing last month when it published its January schedule, said in a statement: “We see ourselves as a meeting place; films are windows on the world and initiate discussion in society.” “We are in no way asserting that those who vote for the AfD are Nazis — everyone has to judge for themselves whether they need clarification about history,” the theatre said, adding that free tickets were regularly offered to different groups, including migrants, women and children.

Karin Leicher, who runs the movie theater, told regional broadcaster SWR that she realized the offer was provocative, “but if someone feels the need to insult and threaten us, then they obviously feel addressed” by it. Asked about his decision to rerelease the film, Spielberg told NYT in December: “With this renewed cycle of hate. I thought it could open up a conversation that genocide can happen anywhere when an ordinary society goes wrong.”

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