The Shmooze

Director Lars Von Trier Apologizes, Says He's Not a Nazi

By Nathan Burstein

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

After causing a stir at the Cannes Film Festival this morning, Danish director Lars von Trier has issued an apology, clarifying that he is a weirdo — but not a Hitler-admiring weirdo.

The festival’s organizers also issued a press release, saying they were disturbed von Trier’s remarks — apparently poorly delivered jokes — that “I understand Hitler” and “I am a Nazi.”

The press release included von Trier’s apology, in which he wrote, “I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi.”

The famously eccentric von Trier, the winner of Cannes prizes in past years for films including “Dancer in the Dark” and “Breaking the Waves,” made today’s comments after being asked about his family’s German background. (The director himself was born in Denmark in 1956.)

“For a long time I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew. Then I met Susanne Bier and I wasn’t so happy,” he said, referring to the Danish-Jewish filmmaker who won an Oscar earlier this year for the Danish movie “In a Better World.”

“But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family was German. That also gave me pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler. I sympathize with him a bit.”

The director added, “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 in the ass.”

Seeming to realize that he had strayed into uncomfortable territory, the non-Jewish filmmaker concluded, “How can I get out of this sentence? OK, I’m a Nazi.”

Von Trier’s comments came at a press conference for his latest film, “Melancholia.” The film’s stars were present, and were none too thrilled with their director, Deadline Hollywood reports. “Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg and the rest of the cast looked like they wanted to be anywhere but sitting next to von Trier,” the Web site noted.

“Antichrist,” von Trier’s 2009 film, earned boos — but also a best actress prize for Gainsbourg — at the 2009 Cannes festival. “Melancholia” received “very mild applause but … no boos,” Deadline said.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Lars Von Trier, Hitler, Dancer in the Dark, Cannes, Breaking the Waves, Nazi

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.