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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 08:59 GMT
Spike Lee attacks Bush policy
Barry Pepper, Edward Norton, Spike Lee and Rosario Dawson
Spike Lee poses with his cast in Berlin
US director Spike Lee has attacked President George Bush's policy on Iraq at the Berlin Film Festival.

Lee, in the German capital to promote his film 25th Hour - about New York after the 11 September attacks - praised the French and German governments' moves to head off conflict.

"The German and French governments should be commended," he said.

"Too many people are being bowled over by Bush and Tony Blair in Britain. It's ludicrous to expect the whole world to follow what they want."

Spike Lee
Lee's latest film deals with the aftermath of 11 September
He added: "America doesn't have the moral right to tell other people what to do. To say the whole world has to fall into line is you-know-what. I hope more people will rise up."

Lee's comments were endorsed by his cast at a press conference, and drew thunderous applause from many of the 300 journalists present.

The film's lead, Edward Norton, added: "It's nice being in Europe this week. Almost everyone in Germany and France is in sync with the governments.

"I almost forgot what it's like to be proud of my government."

There must be people who remember World War II and the holocaust that can get us out of this rut

Dustin Hoffman
He said he hoped US citizens would apply pressure on their government to think again.

"It's dismaying to see the unilateralism the government is doing. There aren't enough rational steps," he said.

'Unpatriotic'

Actress Rosario Dawson said she was frightened by attitudes in the United States.

"Any dissenting opinion is considered unpatriotic," she said.

"It makes me upset. I'm embarrassed. It's my hope that Americans won't jump on anyone having a dissenting opinion."

Lee's comments, together with those of his stars, add to a growing tide of anti-war sentiment in Hollywood.

Dustin Hoffman repeated his earlier criticisms of Mr Bush at a black-tie charity dinner on Tuesday, while Martin Scorsese said he hoped war would be averted.

"There must be people who remember World War II and the holocaust that can get us out of this rut," he said.

Martin Sheen, Sean Penn and Robert Redford have also attacked a war, while more than a hundred celebrities have signed an open letter urging Mr Bush to give peace a chance.

Edward Norton in 25th Hour
Edward Norton plays a drug dealer about to go to jail
25th Hour, one of 22 films competing for the festival's Golden Bear prize, follows a drug dealer, played by Norton, whose life falls apart when he is convicted and sentenced to seven years in jail.

The loss of his lifestyle and the thought his girlfriend may have betrayed him parallels the loss felt by New Yorkers throughout the film.

Lee hit back at suggestions he was exploiting the sense of loss caused by the attack, in which more than 3,000 people died.

"We wanted to truthfully reflect the rage and the tone of what people felt," he said.

"I think we were very respectful to the families who lost loved ones. So long as we are respectful I don't think we have to bother about such criticism."


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31 Jan 03 | Politics
29 Jan 03 | Entertainment
06 Feb 03 | Entertainment
10 Dec 02 | Entertainment
09 Jan 03 | Entertainment
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