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Cannes 2011: Von Trier banned from fest

Lars Von Trier has been declared ‘persona non grata’ by the Cannes Film Festival following his claim to be a Nazi.

The controversy kicked off on Wednesday when, in a press conference for his new film Melancholia , the Danish director said that he “understood” and “sympathised” with Hitler.

Seemingly pulling the audience’s leg, the comments created enough furore for Von Trier to release a statement apologising for his behaviour.

“I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi,” he said. 

However, the festival’s board of directors then released its own statement, condemning the director’s press conference comments and declaring him persona non grata with immediate effect.

Talking to TF, Von Trier said: “I am sure that the Cannes Film Festival has made a decision that is very wise and I accept it completely.”

He added that while he remained “very positive” towards the festival, he is “a little proud of [being declared] persona non grata… my family would be very proud.”

Referring to the press conference, he added: “When I have a full audience I want to entertain them a little bit. “Everyone is waiting for it: ‘When is Lars going to say something provocative?’

“I couldn’t find something that was important to say so I just talked, and then I talked my way into a sentence… and you know, when you try to save [a thing like that], you make it even worse.”

He explained that what he meant by ‘sympathising’ with Hitler was “only that I could put myself in his situation and see him sitting in the bunker making decisions and stuff.

“It doesn’t mean that I would do what Hitler did.”

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Total Film

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