Cannes bans von Trier after remarks
Published 19/05/2011 | 13:38
Danish director Lars Von Trier has been banned from the Cannes Film Festival and declared "persona non grata" after telling a press conference he was a Nazi and could understand Hitler.
A statement from the festival's organisers said they "profoundly" regretted the filmmaker's remarks, which they described as "unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the festival".
It continued: "The board of directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars Von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately."
Festival President Gilles Jacob said von Trier had been banned from the rest of this year's festival, although he would not elaborate if the filmmaker might be allowed back in future years.
Von Trier's current film Melancholia remains in competition for all Cannes prizes - including the top Palme d'Or award - but if it wins any at Sunday's closing ceremony, he will not be allowed to attend.
It is an unprecedented move by the festival that bestowed its highest honour on the director's film Dancer in the Dark back in 2000.
At a press conference on Wednesday, von Trier said in a rambling train of thought that he understood and sympathized with Hitler.
The eccentric filmmaker, who was brought up believing he was Jewish until he discovered his biological father was a German Catholic, said during the press conference: "I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out I was really a Nazi, you know because my family was German."
He went on to say he could "understand Hitler", adding: "But come on, I'm not for the Second World War and I'm not against Jews."
Von Trier said afterwards he had been joking and later issued an apology.