Lars Von Trier Under Fire For Nazi Comment

Danish director Lars Von Trier is back again at the Cannes Film Festival with his latest Molotov cocktail MELANCHOLIA. At the press conference immediately following the press review of the film, which is screening in the Competition section, he made a rambling speech about his apparent German roots. He talked about initially thinking he was Jewish but finding out “I was actually a Nazi”. He said “I understand Hitler.” And then, clearly aware that he was going down some taboo paths, he shrugged it off with a joke: “Now how can I get out of this sentence? Okay. I’m a Nazi.” Festival honchos immediately issued a harshly-worded statement in which they said the Festival was “disturbed” by von Trier’s comments, and had asked him to provide an explanation. In response, Von Trier issued the following statement: “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.” Von Trier, long known as a provocateur, was probably just being droll but it is curious how such a statement, even said in jest, can still engender a fierce reaction in a Europe almost 70 years after the Nazi downfall.

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