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May 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Lars Von Trier, Kirsten Dunst at Cannes

Danish director Lars von Trier, who joked during a news conference at the Cannes Film Festival, about being a Nazi and understanding Hitler — and wound up being declared persona non grata by the festival as a result — issued another contrite apology for his his remarks on Tuesday, saying that his comments were “unintelligent, ambiguous and needlessly hurtful.” He then attempted to construct those remarks as serious commentary — which will likely dig him into a deeper hole. He said, “My intended point was that the potential for extreme cruelty, or the opposite, lies within every human being, whatever nationality, ethnicity, rank or religion. If we only explain historical disasters with the cruelty of individuals we destroy the possibility of understanding the human mechanisms, which in turn are necessary in order to avoid any future crimes against humanity.” In fact, Von Trier had been playing the doofus throughout the news conference and drawing roars of laughter from the press. One reporter even prefaced his question by remarking that Von Trier was a very funny guy and would he consider making a comedy? Responding to another rather light-hearted question, the director, whose film Melancholia earned Kirsten Dunst a best actress award by the festival, remarked that he had spent much of his life believing he was a Jew, only to learn from his mother on her deathbed that his biological father was a German, possibly a Hitler sympathizer. So, by dint of birth, he seemed to ask, what was he? In a 2005 interview, Von Trier had similarly joked about the same matter of gene control, saying that his mother had told him she had become pregnant with his biological father because he had come from a long line of musicians and therefore she hoped she would give birth to an artist. “If I’d known that my mother had this plan, I would have become something else,” he said then. “I would have shown her. The slut!”