Wednesday 13 November 2019

Dunst 'bemused' by director's Nazi jibes

Rob Sharp in Cannes

Danish director Lars von Trier, whose films have featured characters who mock the handicapped and mutilate each other, has surpassed his own strong record for controversy by jokingly claiming to be a Nazi and expressing a desire to direct hardcore pornography.

The director, speaking yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival to promote his latest film 'Melancholia' -- a disaster movie set in a seaside country club, which stars Kirsten Dunst -- launched into a series of bizarre proclamations as Dunst, who was seated alongside him at the film's official press conference, looked on in bemusement.

"I understand Hitler," said Von Trier, responding to a question about his German ancestry. "I think he did some wrong things, but I can see him sitting in his bunker. He is not what I would call a good guy, but yeah, I understand much about him and sympathise with him."

At this point during the press conference, Dunst appeared uncomfortable, and attempted to hide behind Von Trier's chair.

Asked whether he fancied one day tackling a blockbuster, instead of the art-house films for which he is famed, he continued: "Yes. We Nazis like to do things on a big scale. Maybe I could do 'The Final Solution'."

The director's remarks angered US civil rights agency the Anti-Defamation League. "He seems to be struggling against some personal ghosts. This is one way I guess he resolved them, in a very, very bizarre way," a spokesperson told 'The Hollywood Reporter'.

Von Trier later issued a statement apologising for his remarks: "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." (© Independent News Service)

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