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

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist December 7, 2011 at 4:29PM

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?
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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?

This article is related to: Lars von Trier


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