May 19th, 2011
09:56 AM ET

Lars von Trier 'persona non grata' at Cannes

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.”

Filed under: Cannes Film Festival 2011 • movies

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. CCC

    Jews kind of make their own bed all the time. They want to ram their pain down everyone's throat, then take offense at some stupid joke, then they go out and treat Palestinians as had if not worse then they have been treated. For a group of people who were so brave and strong and went into hiding and let themselves get herded off to camps, they have a lot of balls to keep playing the pity card. 65 years later. If they'd stood up for themselves and fought, they might have gotten their butts kicked, but at least I could say I respect them. In my experience every jew I've met is a loathsome person, and I live in jew haven; south Florida.

    May 30, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Damien1103

    Kirsten Dunst was Mortified. What an Ass this man is.

    May 22, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Soren

    The context is that growing up he believed himself part Jewish, his father was half Jewish and Lars visited the Jewish cemeteries in Denmark, and was inducted in the Jewish community in Denmark.

    Then shortly before his 33th birthday on her dying bed, his mother told him that his father was not his father, his real father was a German man.

    This is the basis for Lars pronouncing himself as first being a jew, and then a German and a Nazi.

    Its still a stupid comment on his part, but to interpret it as him being anti semitic is just silly. He is a deeply neurotic man, with poor impulse control when it comes to speaking every thought out loud, and furthermore he hates press conferences like the plague.

    It was not pre scripted, it was not an attempt at being provocative it was just Lars being an idiot. Anyone who knows him, knows he is not a Nazi, which is why he would (try to) joke about it.

    May 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. na

    People really can only grasp the meaning of individual words. They can't assess the situation, the body language, the irony. This is hillarious.

    May 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |


    May 20, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    So finally France stands up against a Nazi.........and he is kind of a half-a$$ed nazi that looks about 5 foot nothing and only weighs more than 150 pounds because of the spare tire he is sporting. Oh....and he is a film director, which likely makes him a left leaning pansy who abhors viloence. Sounds like a fair fight!

    May 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The Mad R@p3r

    Kirsten looks like she might shiv him

    May 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NR

    It's like in recent years theres been this kind of new conservatism, Like in the 50's. It scares me, when Europeans act like americans. No sense of irony or humour. If Mel Brooks had made "Springtime for Hitler" today, he would be crucified.

    May 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Amazingly Enough

    Who would have thought evoking Hitler would be frowned upon.

    May 20, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. Forrest Gump's mama

    Stupid is as stupid does. 'nuff said. Dumba$$!

    May 19, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Superhiro

    I like how they ban this guy for "racially insensitive" statements and then they turn around and give a ten minute standing ovation to mel gibson. Double standard much?

    May 19, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Superhiro

    Ok... probably not the most tasteful joke, but a joke nontheless. C'mon people, grow some tougher skin. Banning the guy for that seems VERY excessive.

    May 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Groupon


    May 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jacob Hansen

    As a Dane i don't know what to say. But just to say something.... its a provocation, if a small child repeat a dirty word you ignore it to a point. He crossed that point. But the fallout is hypocrisy.

    May 19, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Khatchatour

    Freedom of speech on the march.

    May 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  16. tracie

    Ok I must say that love the part in the video when Beyonce throws her tree trunk legs in the air and a big t u rd flies out of her butt hole

    May 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  17. dick delson

    This man is a total idiot. Let's hope that no U.S. distributor ever agrees to release one of his films. What a jerk*

    May 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  18. whatever

    Every time this guy opens his mouth he's provoking somebody. Next interview he should just say he's Jewish and he supports settlements and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from east Jerusalem. That will totally screw with the hypocrites...

    May 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  19. JAMAL X

    You racist are just angry with him because he is black. If he was a white man nothing would have even been said. Just another example of racism in the entertainment industry.

    May 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  20. BroadwayBaby

    I have long thought that Von Triers had serious psychiatric problems. His movies repeatedly show serious negative issues against many groups of people, particularly women. And these comments about understanding HItler, about taking pleasure in thinking like a Nazi, further my view that he has serious mental problems. His so-called "work" is not art, but therapy sessions gone wrong, that he infllicts on the world in the disguise of "art." . Hopefully he will get the professional help that he so very clearly needs.

    May 19, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Elementary School Teacher

    As an elementary school teacher we encourage our children to not grow up to be nazis. Nazis dont get paid much and you dont see many job postings for them in the classified ads. It would be better for them to bne a computer person or nurse or engineer. When I grow up I want to be a cat.

    May 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  22. logical

    Look, there is not doubt his comments were idiotic. But if you guys did a little research on Trier and his behaviour in the past, you'd realise the man in NO WAY represent the average scandinavian, left wing or european. He is a brilliant director, but he is also a complete ecxentric and a wacko. We know that over here, and rather than being offended by the words he said, I just write him off as having one of those days where his brain is off in lala-land.
    On that note, it is terrible sad for the actors who worked on that movie and suffered Triers legendary insanity during filming, to have the work completely overshadowed by his crazy personality while promoting in Cannes.

    May 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  23. The Mad R@p3r

    Just another sign of europes rightward shift. Too many black refugees show up and its so long schengen.

    May 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  24. wraith729

    "I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi." Spoken like a true Nazi...

    May 19, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  25. Don Kenner

    Mmm... I notice that CNN left out the part where von Trier says he doesn't like the Jews so much, "Israel is a pain in the ass." This morphing of anti-Israel politics and outright anti-Semitism is common in Europe and Scandinavia among lefty artist types. Hating Israel and hating the Jews go hand in hand these days. Is this just bad reporting or is CNN playing down the anti-Israel part of von Trier's anti-Semitism?

    May 19, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jesper Mohr

      Lars Von Trier is a director that thrives on making controversy a part of himself – ask yourself who would cut up manhood in a movie – and I mean that literally as he did in Antichrist. Von Trier was obviously being sarcastic and as he said was caught up in the moment. To say that europe is going right wing is idiotic and possibly anti-semitic?

      Funny thing is...if you look at were neo-nazism has the largest following – its the USA -> in Europe people with right wing views can still make a name for themselves – but they seldom go for jews...but rather go for muslims as they seem to be an easier target in todays world.

      May 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  26. emma

    Yeah ! I would say he eats doodie and is a lesbean but that would be an insult to both lesbeans and doodoo eaters. It is one thing to type goofy stuff on a blog to try and stir people up. It is another to say evil things to people.

    May 19, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Why? Why is it somehow less offensive to say nasty things online? It's not any different at all; those who do so are just more cowardly.

      May 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Edu

    That's was the most stupid comment I ever heard in my life. While USA is strogglin to exterminate some of the groups that have no mercy withthe human been, an idiot use the mic to say kind of stupud ...Jesus.....

    May 19, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  28. Reaper

    It's sad that people are provoked that easily.

    May 19, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  29. El Jefe

    While the French should be detested and looked down upon in general. He was stupid for making Nazi jokes. Who knew that people would find it offensive when you compare your self to Hitler?

    May 19, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  30. LBW

    Stupid man. Some things you just don't joke about.

    May 19, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  31. The Mad R@p3r

    Man the french are still a bit touchy on the whole nazi thing

    May 19, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Sherry Buckner

      Is there no room for context anymore?
      Must we forego using our heads in order to appease someone not in need of appeasing?
      These are not pro-nazi statements...they are a sarcastic response to slanted questions.

      May 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Mad R@p3r

      He made kirsten dunst uncomfortable, I condemn him for that alone, everyone should've realized he was joking.

      May 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • me111

      A bit touchy? If your family was buried alive like my family was by the nazis, you wouldn't say a bit touchy...
      This guy isa pure antisemitic and should be treated as one

      May 20, 2011 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Lost Keys

      The fact that CNN would take the bait on this doesn't surprise in the least, but that they would get so ruffled at Cannes is distressing. Von Trier has made an entire career out of saying, doing, and filming provocative things. Why would anyone get bent out of shape over what is an obvious joke? Seriously, out of all the stuff he's done in the past, THIS is going to be the thing that does him in? Nutty.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |

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