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It's Official: Lars Von Trier Won't Go To Jail For Those Comments He Made At Cannes

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by Kevin Jagernauth
December 7, 2011 4:29 PM
4 Comments
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Lars Von Trier

Just when we thought the whole overblown "controversy" about Lars Von Trier's admittedly unfortunate comments this spring at Cannes -- which at the end of the day were the result of a joke gone horribly, horribly awry -- this fall police in Denmark launched an investigation into the incident. They were looking into whether or not he had broken French laws against "justifying war crimes," a ludicrous claim no matter where you stand on what he said. Forget what this tempest in a teapot was all about?

"Ok. I’m a Nazi... For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew... I found out I was actually a Nazi. Which also gave me some pleasure. My family were German. What can I say? I understand Hitler…I sympathize with him a bit... I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier. In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain the ass but…," he said after which he asked the crowd to help him get out of the sentence which was followed by general laughter from the journalists at the press conference for "Melancholia."

But before you could say "Twittersphere," the comments made their way around the world and the festival barred him from the Croisette and declared him "persona non grata." Von Trier offered up some limp non-apologies but after the police got involved, he vowed to stop speaking to the press (bummer). Well, perhaps he can be cajoled to come back out of hiding as THR reports that the prosectuor has dropped the charges, which if he was found guilty, could have found Von Trier cracking rocks for up to five years.

"There was no intention on the part of Mr. Von Trier to commit the act of 'justifying war crimes'," Jean-Michel Cailleau told the trade, adding, "He expressed himself in a language that wasn't his own and also under very stressful circumstances."

Okay, now that this business is out of the way, can we get back to talking about "The Nymphomaniac"? That's Von Trier's next effort, and it will be hardcore sex film (that will also be shot in a softcore version) about the erotic life of a woman up to the age of 50. Hot. Willem Dafoe and Stellan Skarsgard have both been offered roles for the movie that will shoot next summer. But the question is, will Von Trier ever be welcome back at Cannes?

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4 Comments

  • hank | December 7, 2011 5:09 PMReply

    " many of the Nazis were just ordinary Germans following orders." That's right! The German's weren't responsible for the murder of millions after all, you see? They were just following their orders! Of course! IT ALL MAKES SO MUCH SENSE NOW. In other news, I saw Melancholia this weekend and it was good.

  • zatopek | December 7, 2011 5:42 PM

    You missed my point. Every human is capable of horrible things in the right, and I mean wrong circumstances. Of course the Nazis were responsible, but unwillingness to look the dark side of humanity in the eye is just stupidity and can lead to nothing but more stupidity.

  • ED. | December 7, 2011 4:39 PMReply

    I don't think Americans will ever understand why Europe, especially France, takes pro-Nazi comments seriously, even if they are jokes. No, it was not "overblown."

  • zatopek | December 7, 2011 4:54 PM

    Yeah, but if they were "pro-Nazi comments", which they weren't. People should be allowed to say that they understand some parts of Hitler. That's not justifying war-crimes. Demonizing Hitler and the Nazis is much more dangerous than any badly formed comments or even jokes. It's not a question of free speech, it's a question of closing your eyes from the fact that many of the Nazis were just ordinary Germans following orders.

    Maybe Von Trier should film Jonathan Littells The Kindly Ones.

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