Lars Von Trier Apologizes, Confirms He Is Not a Nazi

It's not every day when a man has to make a public statement to announce that he isn't a Nazi, and yet that is just what Lars von Trier has had to do. In an effort to put out the fire he caused during the controversial Melancholia press conference at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, Von Trier apologized for saying -- among other things -- that he sympathized with Hitler.

"If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize," Von Trier said in a statement. "I am not antisemitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi."

At the press conference earlier in the day, Von Trier said that he understood Hitler: "For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew. 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. [...] I think he did some wrong things, absolutely, but -- I can see him in his bunker in the end."

The director backtracked from those words by stating that Hitler was "not what you would call a good guy."

For its part, the Cannes Film Festival was not amused. In a statement, festival organizers distanced themselves from Von Trier, though did claim that the director told them he was "egged on by provocation" to make the remarks.

The Festival de Cannes was disturbed about the statements made by Lars von Trier in his press conference this morning in Cannes. Therefore the Festival asked him to provide an explanation for his comments.

The director states that he let himself be egged on by a provocation. He presents his apology.

The direction of the Festival acknowledges this and is passing on Lars von Trier's apology. The Festival is adamant that it would never allow the event to become the forum for such pronouncements on such subjects.

Click here to read Stephanie Zacharek's report from Cannes about the press conference, and don't forget to check out her review of Von Trier's latest film, Melancholia.

Read more of Movieline's 2011 Cannes Film Festival coverage here.

· UPDATE: CANNES: Lars Von Trier Apologizes After Saying During Press Conference That He's A Nazi And Sympathizes With Hitler "A Bit" [Deadline]



  • Wellie says:

    I'm confused. By saying he was “egged on by provocation” does he mean the reporters provoked him to keep rambling, or that he was motivated by the desire to make provocative statements?

  • happygolucky says:

    Nothin' to worry about - just a simple case of holoparanoia.

  • Brian says:

    I think that Cannes should demand an apology for each of his shitty movies. They are far more offensive than anything he could say at a press conference. One reason I dislike film festivals and critics is that they allow talentless twats like Von Trier to make a living. Just ignore the idiot and let him find a career more suited to his talent level, such as mopping floors at a sperm donation clinic.

  • roytroy says:

    those are pretty crazy statements. How the hell do you backtrack from that? I think the meant what he said the first time.

  • Gonzague says:

    "talentless twats like Von Trier"
    Thanks, you successfully demonstrated what a moron you are.

  • ameliajadson says:

    He really put his foot in his mouth with his comments. Not exactly the best way to get people to go see your movie.

  • Tom W says:

    For many years lars Von Triers producton company, Zentropa inc. has had the danish flag flagged up-side down, in a protest to the increasing nationalism in Europe and Denmark. His wife and children is jewish and he has been a practising jew for many years, visited camps and studied jewish history.
    He has made movies critizing power structures and the ill treatment of the weak. He is as far from an anti-semite than only a jew can be.
    He's also a mental case. He has more fobias than most and is in and out depression on a regular basis. He once said, he's afraid of everything in life, besides film making.
    He's had 11 films in Cannes and Gilles Jacob, his long time friend and Cannes director, always had to be next to him in the limo before entering the red carpet to calm him down. He so filled with anxiety and claustrophobia that he offen leaves his premieres in the middle of the film.
    People often mistake his films to be misogynistic, ignoring that instead he is showing the audience thruths about the human psyke and human history. Many feminist love him because he exposes the hypocricy in our world view.
    Next to that he film are all bout the latent and inhered evil that lurks within every single one of us. As he said, we all have a bit of nazi in us and all nazis has a bit of human in them. Nazis and the likes are humans, not evil aliens beamed up from hell.
    And please, dont expect artist to the like of politicians. Artist are not speech writers.
    At the press he was asked about nazi aestetics and his confusing background as first a jew then a german. He felt provocated knowing that the journalist was trying to catch him on the wrong leg and instead he turned it around and made a try at sarcastis dry and dark irony, giving in to what he thought the journalists intentions was.
    Humor and PC is not the same around the world. In Denmark we joke abut everything since we believe humor is the best cure against tension. We demand to joke about everything. That is how we roll in Denmark and it has given us many troubles many times, such as the infamous muhammed-drawing. But we believe in honesty and straight talking.
    lars Von Trier made an ass of hmself, but please stop demandng the man to be burned on the stackes. He doesnt deserve that.
    He has probably done more to fight of fascism and nationalism than all the commentators in this blog together has ever done.
    And to be honest, seing all the discussion on the internet, Lars Von Trier just did what any true artist should do, make controversy to engage people in healthy discussion, such as the discussion of the freedom of speech.
    That is half they role as an artist and cultural radical.