Lars von Trier makes fresh apology for ‘Nazi’ remarks

Director's comments last week led him to being banned from Cannes Film Festival

Lars von Trier has made a fresh apology for the apparently pro-Nazi comments which led to him being banned from the Cannes Film Festival last week.

The Melancholia director described his comments at film’s press conference as “unintelligent, ambiguous and needlessly hurtful”.

While he had already apologised for his comments, the new statement appears to come in response to a letter of support from Iranian culture minister Javad Shamsqdari, who accused the Cannes directors of “fascist behaviour” and of limiting freedom of speech, according to The Guardian.

Now von Trier has written: “In my opinion, freedom of speech, in all its shapes, is part of basic human rights. However. my comments during the festival’s press conference were unintelligent, ambiguous and needlessly hurtful.

“My intended point was that the potential for extreme cruelty, or the opposite, lies within in every human being, whatever nationality, ethnicity, rank or religion. If we only explain historical disasters with the cruelty of individuals we destroy the possibility of understanding the human mechanisms, which in turn are necessary in order to avoid any future crimes against humanity.”

Speaking to Israeli newspaper Ha’aretez last week, von Trier expanded further on the outburst. He said: “I said with a kind of typical Danish humour, that most people don’t understand, that I was a Nazi. But I’m not. It was a stupid joke. But that’s the kind of humour I use when I talk to my friends, who know me and know I’m not a Nazi.

“I apologise profoundly for offending people. It was not my intention. I’ve also offended Germans when instead of saying ‘German’ I used the word ‘Nazi’, as though every German is a Nazi.”