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Video: Director Lars von Trier Banned from Cannes After Remarks About Sympathizing with Hitler


Director Lars von Trier has been banned by Cannes following remarks he made yesterday at a press conference for his film Melancholia that visibly stunned his star Kristen Dunst and sent shock waves through the festival.

Said Von TrierLarsvontrier

"I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out that I was really a Nazi because my family was German....Which also gave me some pleasure...What can I say? I understand Hitler...I think I understand the man, he’s not what you would call a good guy. But I understand much about him. And I sympathize with him a little bit. I’m not for the Second World War. I'm not against Jews. I’m very much for Jews. No not too much, because the Israelis, a pain in the ass...Okay, I'm a Nazi."

Von Trier apologized shortly after the press conference: “If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize. I am not antisemitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a nazi.”

The AP reports:

A statement from Cannes organizers Thursday said von Trier now is "persona non grata" at Cannes for his comments a day earlier. It is an unprecedented move by the festival that bestowed its highest honor on the director's film "Dancer in the Dark" back in 2000.

The statement did not specify whether that meant von Trier's current Cannes film, "Melancholia," has been booted from Cannes and was no longer eligible for prizes.

 Watch Von Trier's remarks (and Dunst look like she wants to crawl under the table),

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  1. Who does he hang out with that he thinks these are acceptable things to say?

    Posted by: Ioann | May 19, 2011 8:18:56 AM

  2. And there goes Jodie Foster again, showing support for another Nazi. According to this morning's New York Times:

    "Perhaps it (the apology) worked: he received warm applause as he entered the Palais des Festivals for his screening late Wednesday evening. There was a celebrity turnout too; Ron Wood, the Rolling Stones guitarist, and Jodie Foster (director and star of Mr. Gibson’s movie, “The Beaver,” also playing here) came to show their support."

    Posted by: Andrew | May 19, 2011 8:24:15 AM

  3. Aww... Poor guy looks like he talked himself into a corner and then, like any good nerd, tried to use humor to try to back his way out of it (which inevitably backfires). I feel for him.

    Not sure how justified the film festival is to go to such extreme measures and take his comments literally when they obviously not meant to be. But alas; what's said was said. Poor Reese.

    Unfortunate situation all around. Live and learn, Mister Von Trier.

    Nazis =/= Funny

    Posted by: Cole | May 19, 2011 8:24:16 AM

  4. I apologize, everybody: I did the wrong drugs before I left home this evening.

    Posted by: Danny | May 19, 2011 8:44:28 AM

  5. Hoo boy. This is not quite like the other recent celebrity antisemitic outbursts. It was just nervous and incoherent babble. I doubt anyone thinks for a minute that he is actually a nazi or loves Hitler. Minutes before he also said that his next film was going to be a four hour hardcore porno starring Kirsten Dunst. Man is just an oddball with an odd sense of humor and no filter.

    Posted by: Kakapo | May 19, 2011 8:52:10 AM

  6. Yeah odd to ban him but this screams of this guy. He's always trying to get banned. It's his schtick and funnily enough, when I saw this I said, 'oh is this his new stunt to get attention?'

    He has said much much worse. I mean have any of you guys actually watched any of his films? I've seen several and silly comment like this is nothing compared to some of the stuff in his movies.

    Posted by: Rowan | May 19, 2011 8:55:45 AM

  7. 1] He speaks very good English, but it's not his native language.

    2] Multiple translations are occurring.

    Europe is schizoid regarding 'Jews' and 'Nazis'. The left is obsessed with the Nazi and Fascist era, and use it to attack ANY 'Right' movement, even just those moderately right of center. On the other hand, dislike [hate actually] of Israel and 'Zionists' is WIDESPREAD, especially among the left so-called intelligentsia [but among the right also, usually for different reasons.] Most Europeans are moderate, not extreme left or right, but even among 'average' Europeans, there's widespread antiJewish, antisemitism [not just anti-Zionism.] All of this exists to a far greater level than they exist in the U.S. This is all my humble opinion, based on my own personal experience and statistics.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 19, 2011 9:07:37 AM

  8. And of course as Rowan says, there's attention seeking going on.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 19, 2011 9:11:55 AM

  9. The whole time, I was thinking "Poor Kirsten...."

    Posted by: Joey Y | May 19, 2011 9:12:29 AM

  10. This is stupid. He's trying to get attention and just playing with the media and he's also awkward and shy and a complete nerd. He's also a film genius. He's not really a Nazi, obviously. Kirsten Dunst looks horrified but it's just the ravings of a mad artist - he knows what he's doing or he's just super high or both.

    Posted by: jim morrissey | May 19, 2011 9:18:52 AM

  11. Once upon a time, there was Usenet, and it was good. One of it's immutable laws was 'When Hitler (or the Nazis) is invoked, all meaningful communication ceases.'

    Posted by: Go Galt. Please. | May 19, 2011 9:22:39 AM

  12. I was more repulsed by "Antichrist" than this

    he's done some brilliant films for sure ("Dogville") - but this was certainly a straight up dumbass move

    I wonder if he'll refuse to film anything in France now :-/

    Posted by: neverstops | May 19, 2011 9:29:48 AM

  13. On Hitler, he said "I sympathize with him".
    Adolf does not deserve our sympathy- he was never punished for his crimes.
    I've never seen a von Trier film, but now I have a justified reason to never see one in the future.

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | May 19, 2011 9:35:27 AM

  14. I suspect he's more eloquent in his native tongue & that whatever provocative comment he was trying to make, didn't translate very well at all.

    Persona non grata, eh? That would come in handy in the 'real world'!

    Posted by: Pete n SFO | May 19, 2011 9:51:23 AM

  15. So child rapist directors are welcome with open arms, but one perpetually awkward director makes one terrible joke and he's kicked out?

    Posted by: Zach | May 19, 2011 9:59:38 AM

  16. @Joey "poor Kirsten?"

    My thoughts were shame on Kirsten for not storming the _fu ck_ out of there. What possible motivation was strong enought to keep her from walking out and kicking Hitler's chair on her way. Countdown to the damage control from Kirsten's camp...

    Posted by: Ian | May 19, 2011 10:00:32 AM

  17. can't talk about bad things. certainly can't joke about bad things. context is meaningless, obviously, for any right-thinking person. he said what he said and there can be room for no other thought, discussion, understanding. talk about nazis.

    Posted by: barilla | May 19, 2011 10:17:08 AM

  18. @Joey, I thought the exact same thing. She looks like any moment now, surely he's going to shut up. Surely this can't get any worse. And then it does.

    This was a terrible thing on his part, but it's von Trier being von Trier. He's a director, not a public speaker. He looks like even he knew he had gone too far, but we've all been in the position of not being able to shut ourselves up and not knowing why. Unfortunately, he did it while praising Nazis in France.

    Posted by: justme | May 19, 2011 10:27:42 AM

  19. @JUSTME,

    There are PLENTY of pro-NAZIS and fascists in France. And during the war, many powerful and average French citizens admired the Nazis. Much collaboration with the Nazis occurred during France's occupation. And Germany and German people are not hated, but admired and liked by most French people [and other Europeans, including Brits]. This is my humble opinion based on experience and statistics. What's occurring here is again Europe's schizoid attitude regarding Nazis. They were and still are admired for at least some of the things they did by many, but they're also used as a sledgehammer by the left [especially the far left] against any right opponents. So, for many left dominated institutions like Europe's so-called intelligentsia, it's media, academia, the arts, etc., there's often conflicting attitudes and responses regarding situations like this.

    Of course there's a lot to do here with genuinely mis-speaking, misunderstanding based on different languages and multiple translations, etc., And there's also deliberate provocation and attention seeking going on.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 19, 2011 11:01:50 AM

    according to my experience and statistics, you are a stupid, stupid person.

    Posted by: nic | May 19, 2011 12:12:43 PM

  21. I don't really understand the comments expressing outrage. There's a difference between a skinhead perpetuating Holocaust denialism and someone like Trier who is an attention whore.

    Yes, I can hear people saying, "Where do we draw the line?"

    Let's start with distinguishing between common sense and political correctness.

    Posted by: DaVinciSmetana | May 19, 2011 12:35:55 PM

  22. Amusingly incoherent more than anything else. Can he hold his liquor? Cannes is notoriously boozy. Nothing is more pro-Nazi than the Olympics and nobody complains about that (except me, often). It was run by Spanish fascists for decades. Ratbastard is nearly right. All the right-wingers in Europe want it both ways: hate the Jews but not get tarred with the Nazi brush. This might include Cannes.

    Posted by: anon | May 19, 2011 1:18:18 PM

  23. Also, aren't they planning another party for convicted rapist and fugitive Roman Polanski? It's just the Cannes sort of thing to do.

    Posted by: anon | May 19, 2011 2:51:34 PM

  24. I have to say... I find those comments rather revealing. It's what you say when you don't mean to say it that you actually say the most. The guy "understands" Hitler, and "sympathizes" with him. Can't put that genie back in the bottle. Banning him from Cannes should just be the start of it.

    Posted by: Ryan | May 19, 2011 5:30:03 PM

  25. (and, for the record, Polanski should have been banned, too. Two wrongs don't make a right.)

    Posted by: Ryan | May 19, 2011 5:31:04 PM

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