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Cannes Film Festival

Lars von Trier - Nazi or Nutter?

Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Danish director Lars von Trier has no chance of winning the coveted Palme d’Or prize at the 64th annual Cannes Film Festival on Sunday night after his comments about Nazis and Adolf Hitler. This year, with politically correct actor Robert De Niro heading the Jury, his movie 'Melancholia' looks set to be shunned. 


French and international media have jumped on Von Trier’s comments on jokingly calling himself a Nazi. Festival organisers have had him declared persona non grata at the festival, although 'Melancholia' remains in the running. Was this move justified or an overreaction?

Von Trier is famous for his provocative statements. He showed up to Cannes with a new tattoo on his fingers with the letters U, K, F and C, and not in that order, which the paparazzi happily photographed.

And this past week, he answered a press conference question about 'Melancholia'’s German romantic style and his own German roots. The long-and-winding answer, which was paraphrased and translated in many different ways in the international media, can be listened to here.

His silly and objectionable response was par for the course at the press conference, where he used an unfortunate name for a woman’s private parts, and spoke about Nazi architect Albert Speer as “one of God’s children.” Both of those statements were barely mentioned in the coverage that ensued.

The comments created a media firestorm resulting in Charlotte Gainsbourg, one of the actresses in the film, refusing all of her press interviews and the 'Melancholia' party being cancelled. The Argentine distributor who bought 'Melancholia' now refuses to release the film.

Von Trier apologized before he was banned from Cannes issuing the statement that read, "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.”

Nazi or nutter? You decide. But not a Cannes winner.



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