More on the Lars Von Trier controversy

On foot of his comments at the official press conference for Melancholia at Cannes, Lars Von Trier has been effectively banned from the festival.

At the press conference, Lars Von Trier was asked to talk about his comment in a Danish magazine that he respects the Nazi aesthetic…

“I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out that I was really a Nazi, because my family is German. And that also gave me some pleasure. So, I, what can I say? I understand Hitler. I think he did some wrong things but I can see him sitting in his bunker. I’m saying that I think I understand the man. He is not what we could call a good guy, but yeah, I understand much about him and I sympathize with him … But come on! I’m not for the Second World War. And I’m not against Jews. No, not even Susanne Bier. I am very much for them. As much as Israelis are a pain in the ass. How do I get out of this sentence? Okay, I am a Nazi. As for the art, I’m for Speer. Albert Speer I liked. He was also one of God’s best children. He has a talent that … Okay, enough.”

Up until this point, Von Trier had been smart, funny and irreverent at the press conference, poking fun at his leading ladies in Melancholia – Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg – by saying they had begged him to do a hardcore porn movie with them as his next project. It appears than Von Trier tried to get himself out of the hole he had dug with his comments, by laughing it off, and it certainly appeared that the journalists assembled in the room were laughing with him – at the time.
Von Trier issued an apology through the Cannes Film Festival last night, but it appears that this was not enough for them. In a statement issued earlier today, the Festival Directors said…

“The Festival de Cannes provides artists from around the world with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation. The Festival’s Board of Directors, which held an extraordinary meeting this Thursday 19 May 2011, profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars Von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the Festival.

The Board of Directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars Von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately.”

Mr Von Trier’s Argentinian distributor also announced today that they would no longer be releasing Melancholia.

We’ll have his full press conference on Movies.ie later today 

Words – Brogen Hayes