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.
Read more of Movieline's 2011 Cannes Film Festival coverage here.
[Photo: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP / Getty Images]