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Following his Nazi comments, the Cannes Film Festival bans Lars von Trier

05.19.2011

As I'm sure you've heard by now, yesterday at a Cannes press conference to promote his upcoming film MELANCHOLIA, Lars von Trier said, "I really wanted to be a Jew, and then I found out I was really a Nazi, you know, because my family was German … which also gave me some pleasure...What can I say? I understand Hitler." Anyone who understands Von Trier's particular brand of "humor" (what he said wasn't funny but it was clear he wasn't actually being serious) knows this was just the director being his usual provocative self, if not an insensitive ass. He later issued an apology but that's not enough for the Cannes organizers as today they've formally banned him from the fest.

The Festival de Cannes provides artists from around the world with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation. The Festival’s Board of Directors, which held an extraordinary meeting this Thursday 19 May 2011, profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the Festival. 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.

"Persona non grata" is mostly an idiom in the US but actually has some meaning in international diplomacy. It essentially prohibits one from entering a country and is usually reserved for diplomats and otherwise protected ambassadors. Long story short, they kicked out Von Trier and told him not to come back.

Von Trier has been a staple at Cannes since the mid-80s and has won a number of awards for his films over the years (BREAKING THE WAVES won the Grand Prix and DANCER IN THE DARK won the Palme d'Or). How long the Cannes organizers will stick to this edict remains to be seen, especially given that just days ago they stood up and cheered for Mel Gibson, who might actually be an anti-Semite.

Source: New York Times

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