Why Lars Von Trier Doesn't Offend Us Jews.

by Eric Kohn
May 18, 2011 10:57 AM
10 Comments
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…or this one, anyway. Here's the background, in case you missed it:

His movies don't support the allegations of anti-Semitism.
And these are personal works! If someone can take a scene from "Antichrist" and show how it proves Von Trier's anti-Semitic, I'm all ears. It reveals a disturbed man, but not a hateful one.

He likes to stir things up.
This is a form of advocacy. Von Trier's apology helps smooth over the wounds, but not before he got both himself and his movie noticed. And if you watch the clip above, Von Trier doesn't exactly call Hitler a good guy. The randomness of the discussion was what really raised eyebrows. If Von Trier had directed "Downfall," he wouldn't have come across as quite so offensive. It's not like declared Holy War.

He defies the system.
Kirsten Dunst's squirming next to Von Trier was one of those rare moments where a trained star dropped the facade. Her face said, "Not cool, dude." And it wasn't cool, but then he doesn't aim for likability. He wants to provoke, and his delivery in the above clips reveals a man struggling for the right words--or, in this case, the wrong ones. Look, I don't think Von Trier enjoyed the image of a clitorectomy in "Antichrist" or the explosion of the Earth in "Melancholia." But the inspiration strikes him and he goes for it. Cinematically speaking, this is usually a good thing. Verbally, he might want to think twice. Personally, I'm not holding my breath.

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10 Comments

  • tyler | June 29, 2011 6:42 AMReply

    Stop defending this asshole. You want to talk about the work itself? Fine. Let that stand and judge it on its own. But don't put up this shit about how his remarks were not offensive. Ridiculous. He didn't exactly clarify what he meant to say. "He (Hitler) did some bad things" - understatement of the fucking century. Pull your heads out of your asses people. You don't have to buy into this "he's an artist, give him a break" bullshit. P.S: John C, you sound like a straight-up anti-Semite with the last sentence of your comment. Not saying you are, but it does come across that way. So yeah, your comment is null and void to my eyes.

  • JohnC | June 5, 2011 12:20 PMReply

    If a Mongolian said he "understood" Genghis Khan he would be ridiculed by other Mongolians - for demeaning their national hero. Genghis was far worse, in every imaginable way, than Hitler. So was the prophet Mohammed, Stalin, Pol Pot or Chairman Mao. Yet all remain popular in their homelands, without criticism of this by the West.

    The only reason Hitler has such a "bad press" (to put it mildly) is that jews don't like him - for obvious reasons. So what does that actually say about the power of jews to control the media and influence (control) public opinion?

  • Charles Frith | May 20, 2011 6:26 AMReply

    Lars Von Trier is a human lover not a lizard lover. Period.

  • huh | May 19, 2011 12:06 PMReply

    skipped reading this after the smarmy headline, "or this one, anyway." Anything for a click.

  • Pete | May 19, 2011 11:20 AMReply

    The context is that LvT was asked about his german roots. As you may know, way up in his adulthood LvT thought he was a jew and was very happy and proud about that. Then he gets told by his mother, that its all a lie. Hes real father comes from a german family with nazi relations. THATS WHY HE CALLED HIMSELF A NAZI.

    And yes, it is possible to understand someone even though they are evil. Because evil people are humans like everybody else. Meaning we can all become Hitler under the right environments.

    And since when is it a no-go to joke about jews or nazis? Can we not joke about communism and Lenin either? or what the Roman empire.

    The real danger and scandal here, is the negative reactions and hate towards Von Trier from the lynchmob. Thats where the real fascism is hidden and looming.

  • jordan | May 19, 2011 9:25 AMReply

    I get your points, but one malicious detail about his comments that no one seems to mention is his (arguably anti-semetic) diss of Susanne Bier, essentially saying he didn't want to be identified as Jewish after realizing that she was. He seems to have made that point genuinely. Obviously he doesn't like her. Granted she trades in ridiculous melodrama-- though so does he. But ragging on her explicitly for her religion, I don't know, that sounds like a lot of shit to me. And not to be laughed off just because he's an artist.

  • herbert katz | May 19, 2011 4:05 AMReply

    Steven: Goebels was also a prankster. For families who lost dear ones in the Nazi Holocaust to hear somebody to label himself a Nazi and a Hitler sympathizer for the purposes of promoting a film,no matter its quality, is beyond offensive: It is criminal.

  • 2face | May 19, 2011 3:29 AMReply

    Your headline is not smarmy. It's just fine.

  • Eric | May 19, 2011 2:07 AMReply

    @huh Excuse me? How is that smarmy? I realized after putting the headline in there that I didn't want the post to sound like it was an all-inclusive statement. Just my own concise feelings on the matter, that's all.

    Speaking of smarmy things, nasty comments sure are a breeze when you don't have to put your name next to 'em, huh?

  • Steven Flores | May 18, 2011 12:35 PMReply

    The man is a prankster. So what. I found it to be funny. Lighten up. We're all so PC these days.

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