Director von Trier apologizes for Nazi remark
May 18th, 2011
12:50 PM ET

Director von Trier apologizes for Nazi remark

Filmmaker Lars von Trier ("Breaking the Waves," "Dancer in the Dark") is no stranger to stirring up controversy, but he took things to a whole new level at a recent press conference in Cannes, where he joked that he was a Nazi and even sympathized with Hitler.

"For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew,” von Trier said when asked about his Germanic roots, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "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."

The director, who was promoting his movie "Melancholia," clarified, "I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier,” then added, "In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain the a— but…"

Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, who co-star in "Melancholia," reportedly looked on in shock throughout von Trier's remarks.

"Now can I get out of this sentence? OK. I’m a Nazi," he said. But von Trier had one more parting shot for the crowd. Asked if he would like to do a large-scale film, he replied, "Yes. We Nazis like to do things on a big scale. Maybe I could do 'The Final Solution.'"

The Cannes Film Festival has since issued an apology on behalf of von Trier.

"The Festival de Cannes was disturbed about the statements made by Lars von Trier in his press conference this morning in Cannes," reads a press release. "Therefore the Festival asked him to provide an explanation for his comments."

According to the release, von Trier "states that he let himself be egged on by a provocation. He presents his apology. The direction of the Festival acknowledges this and is passing on Lars von Trier’s apology. The Festival is adamant that it would never allow the event to become the forum for such pronouncements on such subjects."

Update 5:16 p.m.: Director von Trier has also issued a statement regarding his remarks, saying, "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."

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soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Madse

    Thank you for leeving Thorvaldsen. It's a joke what your saying. Sure there are people in Denmark, who is racists just like in many others countrys. But saying danes dont use irony and sarcasm, then you would have stayed in a hotel for 6 months looking into a mirror.
    Anyway Lars is just stupied, many people in Denmark, dont understand him...

    May 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Thorvaldsen

    I live in Denmark and am not surprised by von Trier's attempts at being funny. He was basically being Danish–i.e. silly and trite. By the way, Danes do not use a lot of irony and sarcasm (although they think they do). Danes are, at the core, bigots and racists, who try their best to hide it by pretending to be metropolitan, optmistic and concerned about social affairs. After 6 months in DK it is pretty easy to see through their poorly veiled facade.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    I'm a Dane, and these statements are ridiculous. Lars speaks very poorly English, and he is using a huge amount of irony and sarcasm – which many Danes do btw... Problem is that the irony and sarcasm is not well understood outside Denmark.

    Even so, the statements are still ridiculous, and I feel so sorry for Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Gainsbourg and the others around this movie... What Lars does to himself – who cares! But the others didn't deserve this

    May 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whoever

      Hey, im danish too, and I thought it was hillarious. Sure given that Denmark has a very poor reputation due to some IDIOT newspaper trying prove some non-existing point (the Mohammed drawings), the statements from Lars probably weren't the smartest..but they were still funny as hell.
      People really need to relax, if you don't think its funny, fine don't think its funny. If you do, fine. But if you object because you feel you cannot joke about Holocaust then you are way off track. As if you couldnt joke about 9/11...

      May 19, 2011 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Hmmm... I wouldn't find jokes about 9/11 funny – not about Holocaust either.

      Maybe I'm just "boring", but I really don't see the point of making jokes with such events – especially when there are still survivors and close relatives alive...

      May 19, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Rioux

      I have Danish friends. I'm familiar with Danish humor. Maybe one should consider the audience for one's jokes. He ought to know that most folks around the world won't get Danish "irony", especially when the ironic statement, "I am a Nazi" is only conveyed to the international audience via print, without video or audio to provide clues that it is meant ironically.

      November 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lloyd Christmas

    Let's fight.

    May 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lloyd Christmas

    Do you think Groupon can help me?

    May 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lloyd Christmas

    I am sterile

    May 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. @Peace

    Keep bloggin hunny. At least u don't talk stupid. He/she just ignorant. Jealous maybe cause we like u.

    May 18, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. flyonthewall

    I have no idea who this guy is and his opinion holds no value for whatsoever. So "spew" on old man!

    May 18, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nigglette

    My moms said white peoples and poleese and nazis are bad.

    May 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • You are Ignorant

      I feel sorry for you and your "humor". One can only hope that you do not have the ability to reproduce. The world will be a better place when people who think and act like you are gone. Ignorance fuels hatred.

      May 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Mad R@p3r

      But by wishing her/him/it sterile and gone aren't you preaching hatred and intolerance.

      May 18, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Mad R@p3r

    What the hell was he thinking

    May 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • @The Mad R@p3r

      Your lack of intelligence is frightening.

      May 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Mad R@p3r

      How so, @me? Im actually rather well educated/spoken. Your mom certainly finds my pillow talk rather erudite.

      May 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • @The Mad R@p3r

      My Mother's been dead for 10 years. How do you like her now? Education and intelligence do not necessarily go hand in hand. Quite obviously in your case. Your nick says it all. Moron!

      May 18, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Mad R@p3r

      What's your issue with r@p though? I don't get all the hate for hiphop I find on here. I am failing to see what in my posts would denote a lack of intellect.

      May 18, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • @The Mad R@p3r

      If you were trying to be clever with the word rap, your nick would be "The Mad R@pp3r. Either you're full of crap or you're too stupid to know how to spell rap.

      May 20, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Rioux

      It's true; when I first read your name, it did look like "raper" to me. But considering how the "@" is pronounced, I suppose you could have meant, "rapper".

      On the other hand, you may have intentionally fostered this ambiguity by using only one "p". In which case, aren't you a fancy troll?

      November 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lloyd Christmas

    This topic was neede for most on this blog. @N will be joyful after this read...

    May 18, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Evel Knievel

    Hitler is the subject of a lot of falsehoods. For instance, most people think he committed suicide, but he really died of a heart attack...when he got his gas bill.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Faux

    Von Trier has a long list of neurosis, phobias and other issues that makes him incapable of functioning like normal people at all times. A man like that should stay clear of conversations involving things such as Nazis as he easily can put his foot in his mouth.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Evel Knievel

    Jews for Hitler!

    May 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maxie

      You are an idiot... Von Trier is an imbicile. There has to be a place to put Von Trier, Mel Gibson, Madof and Strauss-Kahn together.

      May 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JamesC

    Von Trier isn't a Nazi but he is sometimes very difficult in interviews. I think we should be more concerned with the Minutemen down in Arizona. Not sure that they are Nazis but many of them do possess the same self-righteousness and super-race ethos. Beware of flag-wavers anywhere. They are very dangerous at times.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  16. elementary school teacher

    LOL : )

    May 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Mel Gibson

    My wolfpack just grew by 1 🙂

    May 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  18. boocat

    He's a moron...that's what he is.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Be Kind

    He has a thick accent he really meant a "Nancy"

    May 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  20. BadMovies

    Von Trier's movies suck anyway. Who cares what this moron has to say?

    May 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Louise

    That's not something to brag about.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Ashlaya

    One contradiction after another: "I'm not against Jews, but sympathize with Hitler." "I'm in favor of all Jews, but Israel is a pain in the a–." Make up your mind, Nazi.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Rioux

      I *am* a Jew, and I think Israel is a pain in the a$$. There is no intrinsic dichotomy between these two positions. Though they often go hand-in-hand, anti-Israel and anti-Semitism are *not* the same thing.

      November 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Sebastian Van Goober

    So am I.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Peace

    Ummmm, I do believe Hitler was raised a catholic. What happened to him after he was grown is still a mystery.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |

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