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May 19, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Gainsbourg, Von Trier, Dunst at Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival today (Thursday) declared Danish director Lars Von Trier “persona non grata” effective immediately following his joking remarks at a news conference on Wednesday that he was a Nazi with an understanding of Hitler. The festival’s board said that while it offers artists “an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression” Von Trier had used the forum “to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the Festival.” Von Trier, who won Cannes’ top prize, the Palme d’Or, in 2000 for his Dancer in the Dark, had been on a comedic riff throughout the news conference, which followed a screening of his latest film, Melancholia. When a reporter asked about his plans for his next film, he quipped that it would be a porno film featuring his two stars in Melancholia, Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, who were seated next to him. “It will be three hours long,” he announced. His remarks about being a Nazi and sympathizing with Hitler were no doubt intended to be an outrageous goof as well — but in Europe public figures joke about Hitler at their peril. Chaplin’s The Great Dictator was, of course, banned in Germany during World War II but also for many years after the war, and Mel Brooks’s film The Producers was never released in Germany — or most of Europe — presumably because of its “Springtime for Hitler” show-within-a-show. (The stage version was presented in Berlin in 2009 and became a hit.)