Lars von Trier Banned from Cannes Film Festival for Nazi Statements
by Alex Billington
May 19, 2011
Oh boy, this is very big news. After the premiere of his latest film Melancholia at the Cannes Film Festival just yesterday (read my review), controversial Danish director Lars von Trier settled in to a room full of international press for a press conference. He's always been known to give wild answers and say crazy things, but von Trier made a statement this time that went a little too far. Answering a question, he said that he found out he was a Nazi and sympathized with Hitler. At first, Cannes retaliated by issuing an official apology on behalf of von Trier. But pressure has caused them to officially ban him, effective immediately.
I've attached the video of the press conference below for those who wish to watch, but don't go off too much on him, because word is that he just made a giant gaffe with his answer and he even knew it (just look at his face). Cannes issued a press release this afternoon stating that 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." Persona non grata is Latin for "an unwelcome person", or rather the nicer Cannes way of saying that he's now banned from the festival, most likely for life, because of these disreputable statements.
Cannes continues: "The Festival's Board of Directors, which held an extraordinary meeting this Thursday 19 May 2011, 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." Ouch. This is going to be rough on von Trier, who was already a very depressed guy. At the press conference for Antichrist a few years ago, von Trier made headlines again by proclaiming he was the "best director in the world." This time his oddball statements went a little too far and may have destroyed his career. This news will definitely make headlines around the world and he might never recover.
Lars von Trier has been premiering films at the Cannes Film Festival since 1984, and 11 of his films have been included in the official selection over the years. He also won the Palme d'Or in 2000 for Dancer in the Dark, and Grand Prix in 1996 for Breaking the Waves. Up until today, von Trier was a festival regular, and can still be considered a great filmmaker. This news is definitely going to be talked about for a very long time and I'm not even sure Melancholia will be released anymore. I certainly do not agree with his statements about Hitler or the Nazis, but this entire situation seems quite overblown. I wasn't at the press conference, but you can watch it below. We'll keep you updated on the situation from Cannes as it develops.
Make what you will of his statements and this news. For all of our Cannes Film Festival coverage, click here.