Schadenfreude Alert: Obnoxious Director Thrown Out of Cannes Festival

Allow me to admit some personal bias right up front here. I hate Danish director Lars von Trier. Hate him. As a person, I find him to be a pompous jackass. As a filmmaker, I think his movies are both terrible and virulently misogynistic (not a good combo). He’s the Uwe Boll of the art film world. Nonetheless, he has a devoted following and is typically treated as a critical darling in the European festival circuit – especially at the Cannes Film Festival, where one of his worst movies even inexplicably won the Best Picture award back in 2000. So, imagine my absolute delight upon hearing that von Trier was actually tossed out of Cannes this year after making some really stupid and offensive remarks, even for him.

According to the AP:

Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier was booted out of the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday for a bizarre, rambling news conference in which he said he sympathizes with Adolf Hitler.

The comments had ignited shock from the moment they spilled out of the director’s mouth, causing Kirsten Dunst, an actress in his film “Melancholia,” to lean over and whisper to von Trier, “Oh my God, this is terrible.”

Festival President Gilles Jacob said von Trier had been banned from the rest of this year’s festival, although he would not elaborate if the filmmaker might be allowed back in the future. It was an unprecedented move by the festival, which in 2000 had bestowed its highest honor on von Trier’s earlier film, “Dancer in the Dark.”

The filmmaker’s comments had “stained the reputation for the festival” and its 28-member board of directors felt it had to respond, Jacob said.

Von Trier’s current film “Melancholia” remains in competition for all Cannes prizes — including the top Palme d’Or award — but if it wins any he will not be allowed to attend Sunday’s closing ceremony.


Oh, this is priceless. Absolutely priceless.

Now, to be fair (though why should I be?), if you read that whole article, it kind of sounds like von Trier’s comments may have been taken out of context. It’s not like he said that he liked the Nazis or agreed with anything they did. (His wife is Jewish, after all.) The man is a provocateur and, as he so often does, was trying to say something controversial in order to draw attention to himself and spark a reaction. Well, he certainly got one, didn’t he? Even if he was joking (which is possible), he should have gauged his audience and recognized that the French don’t find Nazi sympathy humor to be particularly amusing.

Sadly, as much as I might hope that this little scandal would ruin von Trier’s career and prevent him from inflicting any more movies on the world, I’m sure that this will all blow over soon enough. Before you know it, he’ll get back to work on his next film about another mentally-impaired woman facing cruel and inhumane punishment from the world and from God for the crime of existing, which is basically what all of his movies boil down to.

[Thanks to Mrs. Z for the tip.]


  1. JoeRo

    I was pretty happy at hearing this news myself, and I was hoping that it might motivate my self-styled film buff friends to stop subjecting me to his work (not likely).

    I too hate this man’s films, but I hate even more that if it comes up in conversation I’ll end up coming off as an apologist for this guy. He has made comments in the past that he’s a Nazi, referring of course to learning about who his true father is, and he’s always been a bit of a jittery speaker in front of a crowd. And if you consider that he’s not speaking these comments in his native language … I mean damn. I have no doubt this will be played at some point that he’s a misunderstood genius who’s being crucified in the media for having empathy for a fellow human being blah blah blah and so forth. Damn you Lars von Triers! Even now that he’s been publicly shamed for his comments I’m still forced to, if I’m being honest, admit that the situation isn’t as black and white as some media outlets are making it.

    But you know what to hell with that, he said he sympathizes with Hitler. Screw that guy.

  2. I’ve never actually seen one of his films all the way through. Went to see Dancer In The Dark in the theater with some friends when it came out fell asleep half way through, woke up to a loud “THUMP” (you can guess what that was in the film) and burst out laughing. My friend has never forgiven me for that. More recently tried to watch Antichrist, fell asleep to that to. I’m not even prone to falling asleep during movies.

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