CANNES – Danish director Lars von Trier pulled a Mel Gibson in Cannes Wednesday, giving a shocking and hilarious press conference for his new film Melancholia in which he admitted to being a Nazi, to understanding Hitler and speculated that his next movie could be The Final Solution.
Von Trier has never been very P.C. and his Cannes press conferences always play like a dark stand-up routine, but at the Melancholia press conference he took it to another level, tossing a grenade into any sense of public decorum. In response to a question about his Germanic roots, Von Trier set off on a long and twisted answer that, if this were America, not Cannes, would have meant career suicide.
“For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew,” he began, “then I met (Danish and Jewish director) Susanne Bier and I wasn’t so happy. But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family were German. And that also gave me some pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler…I sympathize with him a bit.”
Von Trier qualified that “I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier” before digging himself deeper. “In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israeli is a pain the ass but…”
As Melancholia stars Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, sitting on either side of Von Trier, stared at him agog, the director paused.
“Now how can I get out of this sentence? Ok. I’m a Nazi.”...Sounds more nutsi than Nazi to me.