By Edward Davis | The Playlist May 18, 2011 at 2:05AM
Update: Lars Von Trier has apologized for his "Melancholia" press conference comments and recanted about saying he was a Nazi. "“If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologise. I am not antisemitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi.”
The Cannes Film Festival condemned his words: "The Festival de Cannes was disturbed about the statements made by Lars von Trier in his press conference this morning in Cannes,” said the the official festival press release comments. "Therefore the Festival asked him to provide an explanation for his comments.The director states that he let himself be egged on by a provocation."
Original story below.
This probably best just sums it up and we should leave it at that, but bear with us. Good old hyperbolic Roger Freidman, who naively sounds as if this is his first Cannes rodeo, said on Twitter, "Von Trier must have been drunk or stoned at press conf. Career killer possibly. Hello mel gibson."
This of course is in relation to von Trier's comments this morning during the press conference for his new psychological disaster movie, "Melancholia," that went like this. "Now how can I get out of this sentence? Ok. I’m a Nazi,” he said flippantly. "For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew," von Trier said, labeling himself a second rate Jew. Then, he said he found out that he was actually of German heritage. "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.”
Cute, but no, sorry Roger and the rest of the world, these are just von Trier's typical comments meant to provoke every time he has a new film to promote (hmm, gee, wonder why). It won't be the first "controversial" thing he says to stir up the press and make for good copy and it won't be the last (and it certainly won't be the end of his career). Let's not forget during Cannes 2009 and "Antichrist," the filmmaker stated flatly, "I am the best film director in the world." Actually Lars, considering our review of your latest film, and the weak, middling "Antichrist," the piss poor "The Boss of It All" comedy and the trilogy-killing, "Manderlay," your impish enfant terrible mien is starting to curdle and collapse on itself.
"I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier,” von Trier said digging a deeper hole for himself. “In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israeli is a pain the ass but…”
Frankly, this is infantile and getting rather predictable. Of course in 2005 he said, "I come from a family of communist nudists. I was allowed to do or not do what I liked. My parents were not interested in whether I went to school or got drunk on white wine."
So which one is it Lars, you come from commie-hippie nudists or totalitarian assholes? Yawn.
OK, back to the film at hand, "Melancholia," starring Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgård, Stellan Skarsgård and Udo Kier, and a film about two sisters who find their relationship challenged as a nearby planet threatens to collide into the Earth. "To me it's not so much a film about the end of the world, it's a film a about a state of mind," he said, "Maybe its crap," he said, which some people seemed to agree with, "Of course I hope not, but there's quite a big possibility that this might not be worth seeing."
You said it, pal, not us.
Here's Lars Von Trier's statement on "Melancholia" from the film's website which is hopefully much more interesting than this "controversial" nonsense.
"It was like waking from a dream: my producer showed me a suggestion for a poster. “What is that?” I ask. ”It’s a film you’ve made!” she replies. ”I hope not,” I stammer. Trailers are shown ... stills ... it looks like shit. I’m shaken.
Don’t get me wrong ... I’ve worked on the film for two years. With great pleasure. But perhaps I’ve deceived myself. Let myself be tempted. Not that anyone has done anything wrong ... on the contrary, everybody has worked loyally and with talent toward the goal defined by me alone. But when my producer presents me with the cold facts, a shiver runs down my spine.
This is cream on cream. A woman’s film! I feel ready to reject the film like a wrongly transplanted organ.
But what was it I wanted? With a state of mind as my starting point, I desired to dive headlong into the abyss of German romanticism. Wagner in spades. That much I know. But is that not just another way of expressing defeat? Defeat to the lowest of cinematic common denominators? Romance is abused in all sorts of endlessly dull ways in mainstream products.
And then, I must admit, I have had happy love relationships with romantic cinema ... to name the obvious: Visconti!
German romance that leaves you breathless. But in Visconti, there was always something to elevate matters beyond the trivial ... elevate it to masterpieces!
I am confused now and feel guilty. What have I done?
Is it ’exit Trier?’ I cling to the hope that there may be a bone splinter amid all the cream that may, after all, crack a fragile tooth ... I close my eyes and hope!"
"Melancholia" hits U.S. shores on November 4th, hopefully by then the discourse will simply shift back to the merits of the film.