Ukraine bans German movie with Til Schweiger over ‘brave FSB character’ – media

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A German action movie featuring actor Til Schweiger reportedly fell victim to Ukraine’s anti-Russia sanctions. It was apparently banned from Ukrainian theaters over one of its characters – a Russian special security officer.

Ukrainian law currently bans any films that depict Russian military or law enforcement in a positive way. The measure supposedly prevents “Russian propaganda” from affecting viewers in the country.

While the law mostly affects Russian-produced titles, this week a German action movie was axed by a censorship commission charged with enforcing the ban, the Ukrainian Vesti radio reports.

“The film’s plot involves a character played by Til Schweiger, whose daughter is kidnapped. Criminals cut off her kidney and for whatever reason send her to Moscow. He goes after her to Moscow and in the end a ‘brave FSB major’ saves the day,” Sergey Neretin, deputy head of Ukraine’s cinema regulator, told the station on Saturday.

“We discussed this movie today. The law says we should ban it regardless of where it was produced,” he added.

The movie Tschiller: Off Duty is a theater tie-in to German TV police drama Tatort (Crime Scene), which involves multiple casts and settings. The main character, played by Schweiger, has featured in four Hamburg-based episodes.

The feature film continues the series plot and pits the crime police inspector and his partner against a fugitive Turkish-Kurdish crime lord responsible for the death of his wife. The film was shot in Germany, Turkey, and Russia, and was released earlier this year.

Kiev accuses Russia of waging a secret aggressive war against Ukraine, and has put in place various restrictions against Russian products, including films, TV series, songs, and other entertainment. It also adopted regulations to restrict Russian-language content from television and radio in favor of Ukrainian-language, saying that otherwise Russian-language programs would dominate Ukrainian media.

Russian is the largest minority language in Ukraine, especially in the eastern parts of the country. After the nationalist-backed armed coup in Kiev ousted Ukraine’s elected government in 2014, its new authorities moved to revoke a law protecting the Russian language. This was a major reason for Russian-speaking parts of the country to revolt. The ensuing military crackdown by Kiev has claimed at least 10,000 lives in an armed conflict that continues today.