Director said he 'sympathises with Hitler'
Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier has been labelled ‘persona non grata’ at the Cannes Film Festival after claiming he ‘sympathises with Hitler‘ and that he is ‘a Nazi‘.
His comments came during a press conference promoting his new film Melancholia starring Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Asked about his German heritage von Trier commented: “I thought I was a Jew for a long time and was very happy being a Jew… then it turned out that I was not a Jew… I found out that I was really a Nazi which also gave me some pleasure.”
He added: “I understand Hitler. I think he did some wrong things, but I can see him sitting in his bunker. I’m saying that I think I understand the man. He is not what I would call a good guy, but yeah, I understand much about him and sympathise with him.”
Dunst, seated alongside the director during the outburst, was said to appear ‘very uncomfortable’ throughout.
Von Trier retracted his remarks later that day stating: “If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologise. I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi“. The retraction was not enough for the Cannes organisers, who have now seen fit to ban him from the festival, reports BBC News.
Lars Von Trier won the Palme D’Or, the top prize of the Cannes film festival, in 2000 with Dancer in the Dark featuring Björk.