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Cannes Bans Von Trier for Nazi Zingers

Posted on May 19, 2011

Game over: Kirsten Dunst, right, clearly doesn’t share Danish director Lars Von Trier’s sentiments, in jest or no, about Hitler, the Nazis and Israel during a panel in Cannes on Wednesday.

If he was indeed joking, Lars Von Trier needs to work a bit on his act, not to mention the material. The notoriously difficult Danish director shocked the crowd at France’s Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday by proclaiming, during a panel about his new film, “Melancholia,” “I understand Hitler, but I think he did some wrong things, yes. ... But I understand much about him, and I sympathize with him a little bit.”

And that wasn’t all he said, as the clip below shows. Cannes officials responded by banning Von Trier from the festival, despite his attempts to apologize.  —KA


The 55-year-old is a previous winner of the festival’s Palme d’Or award and is renowned for courting controversy.

The festival said it had been “disturbed” by the 55-year-old’s comments and had asked him to “provide an explanation”.

“The director states that he let himself be egged on by a provocation,” its initial statement read.

“The festival is adamant that it would never allow the event to become the forum for such pronouncements on such subjects.”

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By Leslie Garrett, November 10, 2011 at 7:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why would anyone want to focus on the events of pre-war Germany now? Could
anyone conceivably see any connection between the fact that when the Berlin
Stock Exchange crashed in 1929 over 1200 of fewer than 1500 seats were in
Jewish hands, and a majority of films were written and directed by Jews, all those
film noire flicks. What possible reason could anyone have for wanting to bring up
the issue today of dangerously disproportional Jewish influence in important areas
of finance, media, academia, and cullture? Heaven forbid that movies contribute to
useful political dialogue or function as a escape valve and a warning on forbidden

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By MeHere, May 20, 2011 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment


For many people, Israel’s “right to exist” doesn’t mean that they necessarily
believe that the founding of Israel was a good idea—considering how it was
created and the unjust policies that have been implemented since then. It has
caused endless suffering to Palestinians and it’s been a nightmare for Israelis.

It is not necessary to be a Zionist to accept Israel’s right to
exist, the reason being that Israel is already a country. But there’s no question that if Israel aspires to peace and world respect, it must face the limitations and accept the consequences that its founding and policies have created.

In regard to he “Holocaust hoax”’s impossible to discuss that issue with those who believe it is indeed a hoax.  It’s a very non-productive effort….like discussing the “end of the world” with those who are convinced it will take place tomorrow.

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By Marc Schlee, May 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If that’s all that Cannes thinks of the importance of freedom of opinion then I’ll never be able to take them seriously again.



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By scott, May 20, 2011 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for
people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”
—Noam Chomsky

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By Rudolfo, May 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment


“But in the final analysis, Noam Chomsky is right.”

Chomsky was dead wrong when he wrote: 

“By entering into the arena of argument and counterargument, of technical feasibility and tactics, of footnotes and citations, by accepting the presumption of legitimacy of debate on certain issues, one has already lost one’s humanity.”

He was making the argument that every ideologue makes against an opposing viewpoint.  Who gets to decide which issues warrant debate?  Why the oligarchy of course.

Chomsky was right when he wrote ....

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate. “

There is not a single non-Zionist politician, editorialist, journalist, or any media figure in the US who is not a Zionist, that is, who doesn’t support the ‘right’ of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.  That’s thought control just as Chomsky envisioned.  Chomsky, Finklestein, Galloway, Walt and Mearsheimer, et. al, the usual cast of critics of Israel, all ALL ZIONISTS, all except the right of Israel to have stolen Palestinian land on the basis of a made-up hoax.  Helen Thomas, who uttered one non-Zionist opinion, was immediately and permanently banished from the US media.

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By MeHere, May 20, 2011 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Von Trier is a very interesting filmmaker and, as far as I know, his work
doesn’t exhibit pro-Nazi leanings. I’m not aware that he is personally an anti-
semite or a Holocaust denier.

He said some things that can be potentially destructive. Similar things are said
every day all around the world (including the US) which offend many other
groups besides Jews. The first thing those who are deeply offended by Von
Trier’s words need to do is to become defenders of all groups that are targets
of racial and ethnic remarks.  Unless they do that, they don’t have any credibility
as anti-racists.

But in the final analysis, Noam Chomsky is right. He’s always believed that
engaging people in arguments over ridiculous stuff is to give legitimacy to the
issue and undue power to the opponent while losing one’s humanity in the

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By Gabriela, May 19, 2011 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The pavlovian reaction to sentences that include the words Hitler, jews, and Israel is becoming ridiculous. He was incompetent in expressing a process of thinking he went through (or still is going through) as coming from a family with a Nazi past. There is no recognition of a bad person there, and the only way to know is proceeding with questions on how does he sympathize with Hitler. But no. Conversation closed. The actual goodness of your person is irrelevant if you say the words.

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By yomamasez, May 19, 2011 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Screw Israel !

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poonckie's avatar

By poonckie, May 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

We now live in a World where the utterances of a sentance cobbled together and played ad-nauseum soon becomes BIG NEWS. People have gotten fired and organizations de-funded over 2 or 3 minutes of footage even if it’s shopped. The punishment is over the top in my opinion and being declared “persona-non-grata”, holy crap that’s extreme! Will he now be erased from the collective minds of the offended parties? It seems that if you say anything remotely critical of Jews or Israel you can be skewered,drawn and quartered and relegated to monster status, and honestly I thought he was joking and tried to expand but only made it worse. Google Rachels Words.

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By Edward H., May 19, 2011 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the only thing her expressions do is confirm her image (at least in my mind) of a conformist, superficial moron.

and the salon story that was linked really shows a lot more competence than this here. although i find even the salon story lacking because they called his comments “moronic”. just because he has a little trouble expressing himself while what he basically said should not be controversial to any critically thinking human being.

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By Monk-in-the-ruins, May 19, 2011 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

Andrew Ohehir’s commentary on Salon only shows that any discussion about the Third Reich as a characteristically human phenomenon, even as a democratic phenomenon that remains ingrained in that mentality, remains taboo, and that it’s still obligatory for anyone of German descent to ‘fess up and offer incense at the altar of international hyocrisy.

  And what really got him in trouble was saying “I’m not an anti-semite, tho’ Israel is a pain in the ass”—this was what got him canned from Cannes.

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By afs, May 19, 2011 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

I’ve been looking for an excuse to stop watching Lars Von Trier films, and now I got it.

Way too much self-indulgent crud in between the short moments Von Trier’s talent shines.

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By Marco Gonzalez Ambriz, May 19, 2011 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For a better take on the subject, from someone who actually attended the press conference instead of relying on Youtube videos, read the following:

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