Lars von Trier kicked out of Cannes Film Festival for Nazi comments

May 19, 2011

Lars von Trier, whose film Melancholia had its world premiere here at the Cannes Film Festival, was just made “persona non grata”  at the Festival for incendiary comments he made Wednesday at the press conference following the first press screening of the film.

At the press conference, von Trier called himself “a Nazi,” claimed that he understood something about Hitler hiding in the bunker, and made other comments which could well be considered to be anti-Semitic.

The Board of Governors of the Cannes Festival held an extraordinary meeting Thursday morning, and condemned von Trier's remarks, saying that he had used the press conference as a forum for comments which the Festival finds unacceptable.  As a result, the board decided to kick him out of the Festival, effective immediately.

Whether this only applies to von Trier personally, and what will happen to his film Melancholia, remains uncertain.

Melancholia is in competition and might have well been in running to receive some kind of prize. As I wrote in my post yesterday, the film was generally well-received and generated considerable buzz in Cannes on Wednesday, where a madhouse atmosphere enveloped the crowd as it made its way into the theater for the screening. 

No doubt that this is not the end of the story for von Trier. Some years ago, when he was given a special prize for technical achievement for his film “Zentropa” – a kind of consolation prize – he said that he had thrown it into the gutter.