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Lars Von Trier Will No Longer Speak To Press Or Do Interviews; Faces Charges Over Cannes Comments

by Kevin Jagernauth
October 5, 2011 4:15 AM
7 Comments
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It wasn't that long ago that troublemaking director Lars Von Trier was poking fun at his Person Non Grata status bestowed upon him after his bungled comments in Cannes this spring. With a U.K. poster for "Melancholia" bearing an image of the director with a hilarious and fake official seal from Cannes in the top left corner, it seemed the director was putting the events on the Croisette behind him in good spirits. But it appears his saga is far from over as the director made a surprising announcement today.

The police in his native Denmark aren't laughing about his Nazi comments and the director is now the center of an investigation as prosecutors determine whether or not he broke French laws against the justification of war crimes. And as a result, Lars Von Trier will no longer be speaking to the press, granting interviews or opening malls. Here's his full statement:

Today at 2 pm I was questioned by the Police of North Zealand in connection with charges made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes. The investigation covers comments made during the press conference in Cannes in May 2011. Due to these serious accusations I have realized that I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally and I have therefore decided from this day forth to refrain from all public statements and interviews.

Lars von Trier
Avedøre, 5. October 2011

So, an elaborate stunt? We somehow doubt it, but it looks like the formerly carefree and chatty director who never held anything back (to a fault) is now buttoning himself up against saying anything else incriminating. This is likely a result of legal advice as well. If he really is facing a serious investigation, his lawyers have probably advised that he stay off the press rounds until the whole matter is resolved.

As we said last month when this whole storm erupted again over his supposed refusal to apologize, the comments, while absolutely terrible, are being pretty much blown far out of proportion. Lars was going with a train of the thought that went way off the rails, in public, at the worst possible moment. It doesn't excuse what he said, but to say he's justifying war crimes is a stretch. But then again, the only legalese we know if from "Law & Order." But anyway, you're not gonna have Lars Von Trier to kick around anymore.

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7 Comments

  • Marie Kadsa | October 8, 2011 5:29 AMReply

    The interpreter that translated Lars Von Triers comments into French was the worse you can get. She is american and does not seem to have any knowledge about nuances both in her language
    and French taht she is supposed to translate.

    She translated "sympathy" by "sympathie" instead of "compassion" and sympathy having also a sense of being close to a political party or a leader. "Avoir des sympathies pour le PS" par exemple.
    And everybody in France understood it the wrong way because the whole translation is a mess.

    Why does the Cannes Festival hire such terrible translators?

    Below the text both in French and English.


    Journaliste : Kate Muir from the Times London.

    Interprète : Kate North, Le Times, Londres

    KM : And also you mention in a Danish film magazine your interest in the Nazi esthetic and you talked about that. Can you tell us a bit more about that ?


    I : Dans une revue danoise, vous avez dit que vous vous intéressiez à l’esthétique nazie,
    Est-ce que vous pourriez nous en parler plus longuement ?

    Réponse de Lars Von Trier

    LVT : "The only thing I can tell you is that I thought I was a Jew for a long time and was very happy being a Jew, then later on came [Danish and Jewish director] Susanne Bier, and suddenly I wasn't so happy about being a Jew. That was a joke. Sorry

    I : La seule chose que je peux vous dire, c’est que j’ai longtemps pensé que j’étais juif
    Et je me sentais bien, j’étais très heureux d’être juif.
    Et puis un peu plus tard, il y a eu Susanne Bier et puis… non c’était une plaisanterie.

    LVT : But it turned out that I was not a Jew. If I'd been a Jew, then I would be a second-rate Jew, because there is kind of a hierarchy in the Jewish population. But anyway I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out that I was really a Nazi, because my family is German. Hartman. Which also gave me some pleasure.

    I : Mais finalement je n’étais pas juif et même si j’avais été juif j’aurais été un juif de seconde zone car il y a une sorte de hiérarchie dans la religion juive.
    Non, j’ai cru que j’étais juif et j’ai découvert que j’étais un nazi parce que ma famille était allemande. Mais ça aussi, ça m’a fait plaisir dans un sens

    LVT : So, I, what can I say? I understand Hitler. But… I think he did some wrong things, yes absolutely, but I can see him sitting in his bunker.

    I : Je comprends Hitler mais je pense qu’il a fait beaucoup de mal. Je l’imagine dans son bunker toutefois…

    LVT : I'm just saying that I think I understand the man.

    I : En fait, ce que j’essaie de dire c’est que je comprends l’homme.

    LVT : He is not what we could call a good guy, but yeah, I understand much about him and I sympathize with him ...

    I : L’homme n’est pas intrinsèquement bon mais je le comprends dans un sens et je sympathise un petit peu seulement un tout petit peu.

    LVT : But come on! I'm not for the Second World War. And I'm not against Jews. Maybe Susana Bier No, not even Susanne Bier. That was also a joke. I am very much for them. No, not too much because Israel is a pain in the ass.

    I : Je ne suis pas pour la 2e Guerre Mondiale, je ne suis pas contre les juifs. Même pas Susana Bier, ça aussi c’est une plaisanterie bien sûr.
    Je suis très en faveur des juifs, non pas trop parce qu’Israel pose quand même certains problèmes


    LVT : How do I get out of this sentence?

    I : Mais bon, comment je peux m’en sortir de là ?


    Okay, I am a Nazi.

    Bon, ben je suis un nazi.

  • Matt | October 5, 2011 11:56 AMReply

    Absurd.

  • Scribe | October 5, 2011 8:55 AMReply

    Fuck the French. They used to be a people to admire, but now they are just a bunch of smelly bread and cheese processors.

  • jimmiescoffee | October 5, 2011 7:54 AMReply

    stupid. as much as i love europe it has fucking awful freedom of speech laws. USA kicks ass in this department justifiably for once.

  • dkjdfskl | October 5, 2011 7:49 AMReply

    WHAT THE FUCK.

  • StephenM | October 5, 2011 5:09 AMReply

    Nice to know freedom of speech is alive and well in Europe.

    Seriously, HE MADE A LAME JOKE! Get over it, people!

  • Jeppe | October 5, 2011 4:40 AMReply

    Hopefully this will lead to a much-needed debate about this French censorship law. Previously it has mostly affected revisionist historians, who thereby have been swept under the rug instead of proven wrong with arguments, but if it now also is used to silence artists the fundamental problem might become apparent to more people.

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