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Cannes Bans Director Lars Von Trier For "I Am A Nazi" Comments

Posted on Thu May 19, 2011 10:25 AM PDT

UPDATE: Von Triers has addressed the ban, telling The Hollywood Reporter:

    "What I said was completely stupid but I am absolutely no Mel Gibson … What I meant was I could imagine what it was like for Hitler in the bunker, making plans. Not that I would do what Hitler did. But it’s a pity if it means I will lose contact with Cannes. ... I have to say I’m a little proud of being named a persona non grata. I think my family would be proud."
    "When I went into the press conference I felt like I should entertain people there. Everyone comes to see what crazy thing Lars is going to say. And then I started a sentence which I couldn’t get out of. At the time I didn’t think much about it. Everyone seemed to understand and they was laughter. It’s only afterwards, when you read it: ‘I sympathize with Hitler’ that I thought ‘oh boy.’”


Danish director Lars Von Trier made waves at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday when he declared himself a Nazi, and now Cannes has banned him.

The 55-year-old is a previous winner of the festival's Palme d'Or award. He was at the fest promoting the premiere of Melancholia, his new film featuring Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgard.

Watch Kirsten's face in the video above as the conference gets more and more awkward! At one point she says, "Oh my God. This is terrible." The director's comments included:

    "I found out I was really a Nazi, which also gave me some pleasure. ... What can I say? I understand Hitler. I think he did some wrong things, yes, absolutely, but I can see him sitting in his bunker in the end."
    "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 against Jews. I'm very much for Jews, not too much because Israel is a pain in the a**, but still ... how can I get out of this sentence? OK I'm a Nazi."

The director later apologized, saying: "I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi."

In a statement Thursday, organizers of the fest said he was now "persona non grata" as his comments were "unacceptable, intolerable and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the festival."

See the trailer for Melancholia and read about Von Trier's past controversies after the jump.

Melancholia remains in competition at Cannes.

Von Trier was last at the fest in 2009 with Antichrist, which starred Willem Dafoe and featured graphic scenes of sex and violence.



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