Lars Von Trier stops doing interviews, facing charges

We should all be thankful for freedom of speech.

Lars Von Trier has a tendency to court controversy, as anyone who has sat through Antichrist can attest. But earlier this year at Cannes, he made a few poorly chosen remarks in response to a question about his heritage:

“For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew,” he began, “then I  met (Danish and Jewish director) Susanne Bier and I wasn’t so happy. But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family were German. And that also gave me some pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler…I sympathize with him a bit.”

Von Trier qualified that “I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier” before digging himself deeper. “In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain in the ass but…”

As Melancholia stars Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, sitting on either side of Von Trier, stared at him agog, the director paused.

“Now how can I get out of this sentence? Ok. I’m a Nazi.”

Those comments are coming back to bite Von Trier now, as he has apparently been questioned by the police in his native Denmark in early investigations into whether he broke a French law and incited racial hatred. While the remarks were certainly poorly chosen, it seems fairly clear that Von Trier wasn’t being serious, but in any case, he is now banned from Cannes and has decided not to do any more interviews or make public statements at all.

The full statement is below:

Today at 2 pm I was questioned by the Police of North Zealand in connection with charges made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes. The investigation covers comments made during the press conference in Cannes in May 2011. Due to these serious accusations I have realized that I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally and I have therefore decided from this day forth to refrain from all public statements and interviews.

Lars von Trier
Avedøre, 5. October 2011

Posted on October 5, 2011 at 23:54 by Lincoln Eddy · Permalink
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