May 19th, 2011
09:56 AM ET
Lars von Trier might have meant those Nazi remarks as a joke, but no one's laughing.
Following von Trier’s apology for telling press at the Cannes Film Festival that he’s a Nazi who understands Hitler, the Festival has disassociated itself from the "Melancholia" director.
The Cannes Film Festival says in a statement that the Festival’s Board of Directors has met and “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.”
On Wednesday, von Trier came under fire for saying, “OK, I’m a Nazi” as part of a larger, winding response.
"For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew,” von Trier said. “Then I met [Danish and Jewish director] Susanne Bier and I wasn’t so happy. But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family were German. And that also gave me some pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler…I sympathize with him a bit."
Later that day, the Festival released a statement with an explanation from von Trier, who said he “let himself be egged on by a provocation.” Von Trier also issued an apology, saying, "If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize. I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi."
But as a result of those comments, the Festival’s Board of Directors announced Thursday that it “firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars Von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately.”
It also appears that von Trier has lost an Argentine distributor for his “Melancholia” film, which he was promoting at the Festival. The distribution company said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter that following the director’s remarks at Cannes, it’s decided to “cancel the contract that linked it to the film.”
The company added, “We clearly condemn Mr. Lars von Trier’s statements and will not support or release his film in the country.”
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