Danish director Lars von Trier made a tremendous public speaking mistake at a Cannes press conference for the film “Melancholia”. What he said left his “Melancholia” stars Kristen Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, as well as most of the audience, bewildered, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In response to a question about his Germanic roots, von Trier said, “For a long time, I thought I was a Jew, and I was happy to be a Jew, then I met Susanne Bier (who is a Danish and Jewish director) 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 lot.”
Von Trier then qualified his statement, saying, “I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier.” But then he added, “In fact, I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain in the ass, but…”
He is reported to have paused and said, “Now how can I get out of this sentence? I’m a Nazi.”
According to the article, no one took von Trier seriously when he said, in response to a question about whether he’d like to do a movie on a larger scale, “Yes. We Nazis like to do things on a big scale. Maybe I could do ‘The Final Solution’”.
It’s worth noting that the report states von Trier is known for making big productions out of his press releases in the way of making dark jokes, but some might think this took things a bit too far.
You can read the full report of what happened here. What do you think about the situation? Do you believe these statements will impact von Trier’s career?
UPDATE (via Deadline): Cannes has issued a statement today regarding von Trier’s “Nazi” comments. It reads:
The Festival de Cannes was disturbed about the statements made by Lars von Trier in his press conference this morning in Cannes. Therefore the Festival asked him to provide an explanation for his comments.
The director 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.
Von Trier has also issued a personal apology, stating, “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.”