Von Trier expelled from Cannes festival for Nazi jibe

Festival's board of directors declares award-winning Danish director persona non grata after he calls Israel a "pain in the ass."

By REUTERS
May 19, 2011 14:53
1 minute read.
Director Lars Von Trier

Director Lars Von Trier. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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CANNES, France - Danish director Lars Von Trier was expelled from the Cannes film festival on Thursday after remarks he made at a news conference, apparently in jest, in which he declared himself a Nazi and Hitler sympathizer.

"The festival's board of directors ... 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," the festival said in a statement.

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"The board of directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars Von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately."

In a strange and rambling speech the Danish director told a stunned audience at the Cannes film festival on Wednesday morning that he thought Israel was “a pain in the ass” and was himself a Nazi.

At the press conference for "Melancholia," the director who won the Palme d'Or in 2000 was asked to expand on comments he made in an interview about his interest in the Nazi aesthetic.

"I thought I was a Jew for a long time and was very happy being a Jew," said Von Trier, who, according to biographies was told by his mother on her death bed that the father he had known all his life was not his real father.

"Then later on came (Jewish and Danish director) Susanne Bier and then suddenly I wasn't so happy about being a Jew. No, that was a joke, sorry." "But it turned out I was not a Jew but even if I'd been a Jew I would be kind of a second rate Jew because there is kind of a hierarchy in the Jewish population." "But anyway, I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out I was really a Nazi, you know, because my family was German ... which also gave me some pleasure." "Melancholia" star Kirsten Dunst looked uncomfortable as he made his remarks, which took reporters by surprise.

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