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

May. 19, 2011by: Mike Sampson

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 Ö 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 Festivalís 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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5:52PM on 05/21/2011
No offense to Jews, but damn are they the most sensitive people on the planet or what? It's words. If people would quit worrying about what others say this would truly be a great world.
No offense to Jews, but damn are they the most sensitive people on the planet or what? It's words. If people would quit worrying about what others say this would truly be a great world.
Your Reply:



10:33AM on 05/20/2011
So what was the whole story? In what context did he say that he understands Hitler? Did he understand that (despite the whole Holocaust thing) that Hitler wanted to return Germany to its former glory and bring it into the future? Yes, he was a monster...but he did some amazing things for that country when they were at their lowest. Just saying. Now if he were to have flat out said: "I totally understand Hitler because I hate all the Jews too..." Well now that would be a different story.
So what was the whole story? In what context did he say that he understands Hitler? Did he understand that (despite the whole Holocaust thing) that Hitler wanted to return Germany to its former glory and bring it into the future? Yes, he was a monster...but he did some amazing things for that country when they were at their lowest. Just saying. Now if he were to have flat out said: "I totally understand Hitler because I hate all the Jews too..." Well now that would be a different story.
Your Reply:



12:16PM on 05/20/2011
Also, whoever gives this comment a thumbs down doesn't like VW or know history.
Also, whoever gives this comment a thumbs down doesn't like VW or know history.
4:29PM on 05/20/2011
Thanks for telling me why I gave you a thumbs down.

Because if anybody disagrees with your opinion - it's because their factually wrong and uneducated. Not because they're entitled to their opinion, and definitely not because there might be a side to the argument that you haven't considered (gasp).

You sound like a real gas to talk to at parties.
Thanks for telling me why I gave you a thumbs down.

Because if anybody disagrees with your opinion - it's because their factually wrong and uneducated. Not because they're entitled to their opinion, and definitely not because there might be a side to the argument that you haven't considered (gasp).

You sound like a real gas to talk to at parties.
8:20PM on 05/21/2011
Whatever you say, princess. You're probably pretty interesting to talk to at parties...when you're not bleeding from your vagina.
Whatever you say, princess. You're probably pretty interesting to talk to at parties...when you're not bleeding from your vagina.
+1
7:36PM on 05/19/2011
What else did he or anyone else expect to happen with a comment like that. Big companies take shit like that seriously, even if they know he was saying it as a joke. We all know the holocaust isnt something thats taken lightly across hollywood. To bad hes banned now and I doubt he cares.
What else did he or anyone else expect to happen with a comment like that. Big companies take shit like that seriously, even if they know he was saying it as a joke. We all know the holocaust isnt something thats taken lightly across hollywood. To bad hes banned now and I doubt he cares.
Your Reply:



7:18PM on 05/19/2011

Dear Cannes...

Don't make a big deal out of nothing you bunch of sensitive pussies! FUCK YOU CANNES!
Don't make a big deal out of nothing you bunch of sensitive pussies! FUCK YOU CANNES!
Your Reply:



+1
6:16PM on 05/19/2011
He totally had a Michael Scott moment. There is way more to get offended at in Antichrist. Which didn't offended me either by the way.
He totally had a Michael Scott moment. There is way more to get offended at in Antichrist. Which didn't offended me either by the way.
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+1
5:38PM on 05/19/2011

Listening to it one more time...

...it doesn't help that he doesn't have a firm grasp of the English language, but MAN does he talk him self into a paper bag!! ...the more he tried to make a point, the deeper he gets...and the more he tries to make it a joke, the more I realize how hard it is to have comedic timing in a language you dont know that well-- I may have to take back everything I said before, cause mo matter what language you speak, what he SHOULD have said... was "NOTHING".

Feel bad for Kirsten sitting next to
...it doesn't help that he doesn't have a firm grasp of the English language, but MAN does he talk him self into a paper bag!! ...the more he tried to make a point, the deeper he gets...and the more he tries to make it a joke, the more I realize how hard it is to have comedic timing in a language you dont know that well-- I may have to take back everything I said before, cause mo matter what language you speak, what he SHOULD have said... was "NOTHING".

Feel bad for Kirsten sitting next to him... wow, what a day for her. I dont think she could have seen THAT coming.
Your Reply:



5:24PM on 05/19/2011

I'm loath to point this out, but...

A: Cannes was created specifically as a counterpoint to the Venice film festival, which had been co-opted by Mussolini to feature Italian and German fascist propaganda films. So to say that the institution has specifically anti-Nazi beliefs in its DNA is an understatement.

B: It's a private organization - not a public forum. Nobody's free speech is being trampled here. I always bristle when people start flag-waving, and forget what exactly constitutes the limits of protected free speech.
A: Cannes was created specifically as a counterpoint to the Venice film festival, which had been co-opted by Mussolini to feature Italian and German fascist propaganda films. So to say that the institution has specifically anti-Nazi beliefs in its DNA is an understatement.

B: It's a private organization - not a public forum. Nobody's free speech is being trampled here. I always bristle when people start flag-waving, and forget what exactly constitutes the limits of protected free speech. What he did is no different that telling a bartender to fuck off and getting bounced. You have the right to say it - and they have the right to toss yo' ass out.

C: I somehow remain skeptical that this incident is going to have a chilling effect on all of the sarcastic pro-nazi rhetoric that was planned for 2012.
Your Reply:



5:10PM on 05/19/2011

LOL yelp...

I'm a jew, your nazi. your german, I hate germans. But hey. Your movies are still awesome, and your not like deuce bag like Mel is. So W/e. also alot of bands I like are from germany. Go figure.
I'm a jew, your nazi. your german, I hate germans. But hey. Your movies are still awesome, and your not like deuce bag like Mel is. So W/e. also alot of bands I like are from germany. Go figure.
Your Reply:



+11
3:50PM on 05/19/2011

So...

...they defend freedom of expression and creation, but they don't defend freedom of speech-- which is weird, because if he had a film that had characters that actually HAD any of those beliefs, then I guess they would applaud and defend that-? Hypocrisy and politics rule the day yet again... and let me finish this off by saying that, first and foremost, it was very obvious that he was making a joke and being nonsensical and sarcastic. I agree, it was an off-color joke and maybe even a little
...they defend freedom of expression and creation, but they don't defend freedom of speech-- which is weird, because if he had a film that had characters that actually HAD any of those beliefs, then I guess they would applaud and defend that-? Hypocrisy and politics rule the day yet again... and let me finish this off by saying that, first and foremost, it was very obvious that he was making a joke and being nonsensical and sarcastic. I agree, it was an off-color joke and maybe even a little too "Family Guy" for the type of event that this is...but I can't believe that anybody who heard this (within the context of the moment) believes that he actually has those feelings-- they were told in a joking manner in the spirit of sarcastic jest. Maybe he has people there who were just waiting for an opportunity to get rid of him from the show and found a technicality to get him out of the running. --and Im not even defending this guy. I dont know his work and I dont have an interest in seeing him win another award. I just feel bad when somebody is taken out of context and made to look like they are something that they are not. Was the joke in bad taste-? Yeah, I would agree with that, of course. Is he trying to promote the rise of the Nazi's and all that implies?--probably not.
Your Reply:



3:04PM on 05/19/2011

...

Lars and Mel Gibson should get together, and go fuck themselves in their next film.
Lars and Mel Gibson should get together, and go fuck themselves in their next film.
Your Reply:



5:26PM on 05/19/2011
I think they'd have trouble finding distributors.
I think they'd have trouble finding distributors.
2:44PM on 05/19/2011
I can't necessarily defend him in saying what he said, because it seemingly made no contextual sense. But it's just the latest of von Trier's controversial remarks. The man is well-known for his off-color humor, and while the rambling didn't make good sense, and he did apologize, it just seems kinda wrong. I guess Cannes now feels the same way as everyone else, the man is a polarizing figure.
I can't necessarily defend him in saying what he said, because it seemingly made no contextual sense. But it's just the latest of von Trier's controversial remarks. The man is well-known for his off-color humor, and while the rambling didn't make good sense, and he did apologize, it just seems kinda wrong. I guess Cannes now feels the same way as everyone else, the man is a polarizing figure.
Your Reply:



2:07PM on 05/19/2011
Pretty stupid to ban him even if it was a stupid thing for him to say. I guess they never saw Antichrist. If they had they would know this guy doesn't give a fuck about how what he creates or says is perceived.
Pretty stupid to ban him even if it was a stupid thing for him to say. I guess they never saw Antichrist. If they had they would know this guy doesn't give a fuck about how what he creates or says is perceived.
Your Reply:



1:41PM on 05/19/2011

HEY CANNES?

Get over yourself! What an ASSH*LE organization. Hey Lars you can over to my country and talk as much as you want about your love of Germany. Our Jews here don't give a flying f*ck!
Get over yourself! What an ASSH*LE organization. Hey Lars you can over to my country and talk as much as you want about your love of Germany. Our Jews here don't give a flying f*ck!
Your Reply:



5:29PM on 05/19/2011
I don't think a love of Germany was the issue of contention.
I don't think a love of Germany was the issue of contention.
1:30PM on 05/19/2011
So I'm guessing his family wasn't comprised of any Jewish Germans, then?
So I'm guessing his family wasn't comprised of any Jewish Germans, then?
Your Reply:



5:17PM on 05/19/2011
Your guess is incorrect. He is ethnically Jewish.
Your guess is incorrect. He is ethnically Jewish.
1:28PM on 05/19/2011
Watching the actual interview puts a different spin on things.

It was just some weird rambling without malicious intent. Obviously not very smart, but his apologies should have been more than sufficient.
Watching the actual interview puts a different spin on things.

It was just some weird rambling without malicious intent. Obviously not very smart, but his apologies should have been more than sufficient.
Your Reply:



+11
1:28PM on 05/19/2011
Sarcasm is evidently to advanced for some people. Same goes for Brad Pitts quote of hitting his children.
Sarcasm is evidently to advanced for some people. Same goes for Brad Pitts quote of hitting his children.
Your Reply:



4:31PM on 05/20/2011
I think LVT's ability to deliver sarcasm effectively may also be lacking.
I think LVT's ability to deliver sarcasm effectively may also be lacking.
+0
1:20PM on 05/19/2011
I don't think he was serious but it doesn't make that comment any less tasteless.
I don't think he was serious but it doesn't make that comment any less tasteless.
Your Reply:



1:18PM on 05/19/2011

Okay

So it'll be interesting to see how Cannes reacts to Oliver Stones upcoming project:

[link]
So it'll be interesting to see how Cannes reacts to Oliver Stones upcoming project:

[link]
Your Reply:



1:44PM on 05/19/2011
Who gives a crap about Oliver Stone anymore? The guy is just desperate for attention and can't come to grips with the fact that he's pretty much been irrelevant since the mid-90's. His "documentary" on Hugo Chavez was a propagandist joke, and this new thing he's doing will be, too.
Who gives a crap about Oliver Stone anymore? The guy is just desperate for attention and can't come to grips with the fact that he's pretty much been irrelevant since the mid-90's. His "documentary" on Hugo Chavez was a propagandist joke, and this new thing he's doing will be, too.
12:57PM on 05/19/2011
I'm Jewish, had family who escaped concentration camps. I'm not offended but I think it was really stupid of him to say that. If you're going to say it, don't say it out loud at a big event. Keep it in your head or say it when no ones around.
I'm Jewish, had family who escaped concentration camps. I'm not offended but I think it was really stupid of him to say that. If you're going to say it, don't say it out loud at a big event. Keep it in your head or say it when no ones around.
Your Reply:



11:47AM on 05/19/2011
In the same official statement, Cannes says it provides a forum to "defend freedom of expression and creation", and then bans LVT for enjoying said freedom of expression. How ironic.
In the same official statement, Cannes says it provides a forum to "defend freedom of expression and creation", and then bans LVT for enjoying said freedom of expression. How ironic.
Your Reply:



11:51AM on 05/19/2011
You're right...
Because democracy is to have EVERYONE have a right to their opinion... Even if this opinion is UNdemocratic ! And here, it wasn't even serious, it was just a stupid comment!
You're right...
Because democracy is to have EVERYONE have a right to their opinion... Even if this opinion is UNdemocratic ! And here, it wasn't even serious, it was just a stupid comment!
1:05PM on 05/19/2011
That same kind of argument is why the Westboro Baptist Church is allowed to spit on the graves of fallen soldiers so I don't hold it in high regard.
That same kind of argument is why the Westboro Baptist Church is allowed to spit on the graves of fallen soldiers so I don't hold it in high regard.
+0
11:45AM on 05/19/2011
What a freakin' tard.
What a freakin' tard.
Your Reply:



11:41AM on 05/19/2011

Well I'm offended!

My grandfather DIED in a Nazi concentration camp. . . He fell out the tower but died none the less!

I love that one!
My grandfather DIED in a Nazi concentration camp. . . He fell out the tower but died none the less!

I love that one!
Your Reply:



11:55AM on 05/19/2011
Me to!!
The darker the humor, the bigger the laugh !
FUCK political and (worst) mediatical (I hope this word exist in English) correctness !
Sorry for my English, this is not my original language.
Me to!!
The darker the humor, the bigger the laugh !
FUCK political and (worst) mediatical (I hope this word exist in English) correctness !
Sorry for my English, this is not my original language.
10:45AM on 05/19/2011

Wait what's so wrong with Nazis?

Oh right...
Oh right...
Your Reply:



+10
9:59AM on 05/19/2011

Ah the French...

Trier can be such an idiot when he opens his mouth, it's like the man has no filter.

Having said that I think it's important to distinguish the man from his work, I do think he's a proper film-maker and he made some disturbing and though-provoking films.

He admittedly made a terrible, tasteless joke but he did apologize. Banning him seems such a knee-jerk reaction.
Trier can be such an idiot when he opens his mouth, it's like the man has no filter.

Having said that I think it's important to distinguish the man from his work, I do think he's a proper film-maker and he made some disturbing and though-provoking films.

He admittedly made a terrible, tasteless joke but he did apologize. Banning him seems such a knee-jerk reaction.
Your Reply:



11:57AM on 05/19/2011
I totally agree with you even though I'm French AND not a fan of his work.
I totally agree with you even though I'm French AND not a fan of his work.
9:43AM on 05/19/2011

Sometimes though...

....you have to know what's inappropriate and what's not and simply shut your fucking mouth. Why did he have to say that? Cause he's craving attention.
....you have to know what's inappropriate and what's not and simply shut your fucking mouth. Why did he have to say that? Cause he's craving attention.
Your Reply:



9:14AM on 05/19/2011
Overreact much, Cannes?

Hell, everyone knows Nazis are cool - even the Israelis want to be Nazis these days.

(I expect a failure of humour on someone's part in exactly three... two...)
Overreact much, Cannes?

Hell, everyone knows Nazis are cool - even the Israelis want to be Nazis these days.

(I expect a failure of humour on someone's part in exactly three... two...)
Your Reply:



11:08AM on 05/19/2011
If you were really as "edgy" as you think you are/were being, you wouldn't have followed up your cleverness with the "failure" comment in parenthesis. That's the same as saying, "Look, I'm edgy! But please don't be mad, I'm just trying to score brownie points for being edgy!" FAIL.
If you were really as "edgy" as you think you are/were being, you wouldn't have followed up your cleverness with the "failure" comment in parenthesis. That's the same as saying, "Look, I'm edgy! But please don't be mad, I'm just trying to score brownie points for being edgy!" FAIL.
1:46PM on 05/19/2011
Some people can't tell the difference between "edgy" and tasteless.
Some people can't tell the difference between "edgy" and tasteless.
3:42PM on 05/19/2011
You'd get points if you didn't try to defend yourself immediately after the "joke", but more importantly, one way to avoid offending people is if a joke is actually funny. With no context, your joke isn't funny, just insensitive.
You'd get points if you didn't try to defend yourself immediately after the "joke", but more importantly, one way to avoid offending people is if a joke is actually funny. With no context, your joke isn't funny, just insensitive.
9:11AM on 05/20/2011
Oh, please, stop it with the crying. You're starting to sound just like the Palestinian kids who are caught by Israeli soldiers and have their arms forced behind their backs and their elbow-joints smashed with rocks and rifle-butts as a lesson not to throw any more stones.

Nobody's trying to be "edgy", nobody's trying to score "brownie points", everybody can spot what's "tasteless" or "insensitive" (yes,even me, while I'm typing it in a quite deliberate manner, as if it's not bum-fuckingly
Oh, please, stop it with the crying. You're starting to sound just like the Palestinian kids who are caught by Israeli soldiers and have their arms forced behind their backs and their elbow-joints smashed with rocks and rifle-butts as a lesson not to throw any more stones.

Nobody's trying to be "edgy", nobody's trying to score "brownie points", everybody can spot what's "tasteless" or "insensitive" (yes,even me, while I'm typing it in a quite deliberate manner, as if it's not bum-fuckingly accidental at all!) and I'm guessing that even the tribesmen of the most remote pygmy-cannibals on the planet know humour is subjective and needs no "defending" (as if one was being proffered to the world at large in the first place), ergo I win three hundred internets. And I didn't even want them. Keep the fuckers.*

*This is not a defence.

**And neither is this.

***But perhaps this is.

****No. No, it's not. I double-checked and everything.

"Nazi scum!" There, is that better? Does it lessen the confusion in your mind when someone appends the word "scum" to "Nazi"? But wait - that could be misconstrued as appeasement in an attempt to score points with some anonymous people I'm not interested in. Well, it fucking well isn't. I'm just one of life's little detrimental robots from time to time. This has been one of those times.