Cannes Bans Lars Von Trier For Tasteless But Tongue In Cheek Nazi Remarks

By Katey Rich 2011-05-19 06:49:54discussion comments
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We haven't really been reporting on what Lars von Trier said at his hugely controversial Cannes press conference yesterday, beyond my post on Kino Katey generally celebrating the fact that the iconoclastic Danish director is still so capable of getting people riled up. But while I assumed the hubbub around von Trier's remarks-- in which he, tongue firmly planted in cheek, called himself a Nazi and that he "admired Hitler"-- would blow over quickly, Cannes itself has officially turned it into a Big Deal. According to an AP report in The New York Times the festival has declared von Trier "persona non grata" and called his remarks "unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the festival."

Von Trier, who won the Palme d'Or in 2000 for Dancer in the Dark, also has his new film Melancholia in competition this year; according to the statement, it remains in competition for prizes, so if it actually wins something you can expect this whole thing to blow up even further. You can check out the Kino Katey post for more details on what von Trier said, and to see that even in print it seems clear that von Trier is making a joke-- a tasteless and bad one, sure, but at no point does it actually seem like the director considers himself a Nazi. He even issued an apology hours later. It seems incredibly extreme for Cannes to make the move of banning the filmmaker entirely, rather than just issuing a statement condemning Nazism and moving on. They've turned this particular molehill into a mountain, and it's easy to imagine that the festival will suffer for this decision far more than von Trier.
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