Lars von Trier, director of acclaimed indie hits like Dogville and Antichrist, has been banned from the Cannes Film Festival after claiming yesterday to be a Nazi who feels sympathy for Hitler.
The controversial remarks shocked cast members from his latest film Melancholia, who included Charlotte Rampling and Udo Kier. Kirsten Dunst had earlier tried to intervene and persuade him to temper his words, following which the press conference was abruptly terminated by an aide. Von Trier, who is known for his dark sense of humour, later said he had been joking.
Von Trier, who believed himself to be Jewish when he was growing up but later discovered this was not genetically the case, stressed that he is not against Jews and does not support the Second World War or think Hitler was 'a nice guy'.
It is difficult to create this level of clamour at Cannes and some have suggested that the whole thing may have been a publicity stunt, but it is also possible that it may be related to the director's history of manic depressive episodes and self destructive behaviour. Von Trier has now said that he doesn't deserve to win a Palme d'Or anyway and he would rather stay at home in Denmark making pornography because in that business it isn't necessary to deal with the same level of attention from the media.