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Film about Pim Fortuyn's death premieres in the Netherlands

Film about Pim Fortuyn's death premieres in the Netherlands

A drama about the killing of maverick gay Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn--directed by the outspoken filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was himself murdered last month--screened for the first time Sunday amid heavy security. The film, a mix of dramatization and real footage called 06/05 in reference to the date on which Fortuyn was shot by an animal rights activist in 2002, is to make its public premiere on Wednesday on the Internet and opens in cinemas next month. Dutch celebrities and members of Van Gogh's family gathered for the film's launch at a venue cordoned off by police near the parliament building in The Hague. "Unfortunately, it's not just a good memorial for Fortuyn, but also for Theo," said actress Tara Elders, who plays a lead role in the film, which suggests government intelligence agents were involved in Fortuyn's killing, as he opposed a major defense contract. Van Gogh, who outraged Muslims with a film earlier this year accusing Islam of promoting violence against women, had just finished making 06/05 when he was shot and stabbed to death as he was cycling to work in Amsterdam on November 2. Van Gogh's murder has sparked a fierce debate about freedom of speech and further fueled rising hostility toward immigrants, which Fortuyn had tapped into before his death with his comments that the Netherlands could not absorb any more foreigners. "The killing was a smart bomb for free speech. More so even than the killing of Fortuyn because he was a politician. It means that everyone who wants to give his opinion is hesitant," Gijs van de Westelaken, producer of 06/05, told Reuters at the film launch. "The Dutch always thought we were a little quiet island in a tumultuous world. That certainly isn't the fact anymore. It's almost like Holland is an example of what could happen elsewhere. It certainly won't be the last attack," he said. A Dutch-Moroccan man with suspected links to a radical Muslim group has been charged with Van Gogh's murder. Other members of the group have been arrested for threatening politicians, including Geert Wilders, a right-wing populist seen as an heir to Fortuyn's anti-immigration legacy. Wilders, who has seen support soar in polls since Van Gogh's death, has said concern for his own safety and those of his employees is hampering his attempts to set up a new party and has demanded better protection from the government. Tiscali, the Internet service provider that funded 06/05 and is backing the Web premiere, said Van Gogh's killing has fired international interest in the rights to his last film. "Everybody is quite shocked about the murder of the director. It made headlines around the world. The movie is about the murder of a politician, which is a worldwide phenomenon now because it could happen anywhere," Tiscali's Patricia Spuijbroek said. Fortuyn, who was mourned by tens of thousands who lined the streets to shower his hearse with flowers, was recently voted the greatest Dutchman of all time in a television competition.

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