Director Lars von Trier shocked everyone in the room during a Cannes press conference after presenting Melancholia, his latest film. In a rambling monologue that caused Larry David levels of awkwardness among the assembled cast (including Kirsten Dunst, John Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg), Lars von Trier dropped such gems as:
“For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew,” he began, “then I met [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.”
“In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain in the ass but…”
“Now how can I get out of this sentence? Ok. I’m a Nazi.”
How do you top that? Well, how about answering a question about his next project with “We Nazis like to do things on a big scale. Maybe I could do The Final Solution.” You can see the Lars von Trier Nazi rant video here, in all its awkward glory.
At this point it should be clear that Lars von Trier was trolling, as he does rather often, and that he took the joke too far, even in spite of himself, as he later admitted.
Lars von Trier: From Nazism to Epic Porn
Lars von Trier later dissed Melancholia, describing it as “maybe crap”, and saying that he wants to cast Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg in a 4-hour porn film with “lots of uncomfortable sex”
Hollywood Reporter took Lars von Trier at his word, at least in their headline. What separates this from, say, a Mel Gibson rant is von Trier’s history of intentionally winding people up mixed with his tendency to get carried away with his own speeches and not knowing when to apply the brakes; Mel Gibson’s rants were private affairs that became public against his will.
Apologizing for the director, Kirsten Dunst said that von Trier tended to “run his mouth”.
Lars von Trier later apologized for his comments, describing them as “rude” and that he “didn’t sympathize with Hitler for one second”. Lars von trier has been banned from the rest of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Lars von Trier is no stranger to trolling audiences, having written and directed films like The Idiots, Dancer in the Dark, Breaking the Waves, and, most recently/infamously, Antichrist. After the conference, von Trier said, “This whole Nazi thing, I don’t know where it came from, but you spend a lot of time in Germany, you sometimes want to feel a little free and just talk about this shit, you know?”
Well, not really, but…
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