Cannes 2011: Lars Von Trier declared “persona non grata”

Accustomed to controversy, it seems Lars Von Trier went one step too far this time. At least according to Cannes Fest executives who issued a statement on Thursday declaring Mr Trier “persona non grata” following his unfortunate remarks on Hitler and describing himself as a Nazi! And if it was a joke not many are laughing!!

Von Trier issued shortly afterwards a public apology: ” If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize,” he said in an email sent to AFP by Meta Louise Foldager, producer of his latest film “Melancholia”. “I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi.” “I am sorry if I’ve hurt anyone, ….I’m not a Nazi!…

Von Trier’s latest film “Melancholia” remains in the list of films competing for the big Prize. However the Director has been banned from attending the closing ceremony and/or any major events at the Festival.
In the statement issued yesterday the festival announced that: “Cannes provides artists with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation,” the board said in a statement. “We profoundly regret[s] 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.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Von Trier responded by saying he was sorry for the damage his comments may have done to the festival.

“It’s a pity because [festival president] Gilles Jacob is a close personal friend of mine,” von Trier said. “What I said was completely stupid but I am absolutely no Mel Gibson … What I meant was I could imagine what it was like for Hitler in the bunker, making plans. Not that I would do what Hitler did. But it’s a pity if it means I will lose contact with Cannes.”

Von Trier’s film “Melancholia” was already sold to most markets, on the basis of the director’s reputation and its acceptance in the Cannes competition. On Wednesday, its Argentine distributor reneged on its deal to distribute the film and issued a public statement:

“In view of the unacceptable statements expressed by filmmaker Lars von Trier at today’s press conference in the Cannes Film Festival and his evident Nazi declaration – which is offensive for the Jewish people and humankind in general, Distribution Company SA, owner of the distribution rights for the film Melancholia in the Southern Cone, has decided to cancel the contract that linked it to the film.

“We clearly condemn Mr. Lars von Trier’s statements and will not support or release his film in the country.”

The statement was signed by Bernardo and Paula Zupnik, president and head of the company.

A regular at Cannes, Von Trier won the Palme d’Or in 2000 for “Dancer in the dark”. Singer Bjork also won the prize for “Best Female Performance” making “Dancer in the dark” the big winner that year. Two years ago Charlotte Gainsbourg was also rewarded for her disturbing, visceral and compelling performance in the controversial “Antichrist’.


1 Comment on Cannes 2011: Lars Von Trier declared “persona non grata”

  1. I’ve followed Lars Von Trier’s work since the beginning and his Dogma days but I can’t help but think that this is just another publicity stunt. Calling himself God, now these comments on Hitler… I’m very impressed that Cannes took a stand on it.

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