Update #2: The Cannes Film Festival have issued a formal announcement declaring Lars Von Trier "persona non grata" after his idiotic comments about Hitler and Nazis:
The Festival de Cannes provides artists from around the world with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation. The Festival’s Board of Directors, which held an extraordinary meeting this Thursday 19 May 2011, profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars Von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the Festival.
The Board of Directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars Von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately.
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Update #1: Earlier today it was reported that director Lars Von Trier made some fantastically stupid comments about Hitler and Nazis. He has since offered an apology:
"If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize. I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi."
Not since Oliver Stone put his foot in it last fall has a movie director said something as unfortunate and wrongheaded as the bomb that Lars Von Trier dropped at Cannes earlier today.
Pete Hammond from Deadline brings us the money quote:
"For a long time I was a jew and I was happy to be a Jew, then I met (fellow Danish director and this year's Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film) Susanne Bier and I wasn't so happy. 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," he said.
But wait, there's more!
"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 (pause)... How can I get out of this sentence? OK I'm a Nazi."
This is in no way to defend what Von Trier said, but reading those words (and not having seen his face or heard his inflection as he said them), you can almost feel him slipping down the rabbit hole, slowly backing himself into a corne, and then deciding to have "fun" with it.
Anywho, Von Trier is in the south of France to unveil his newest film, "Melancholia," starring Kristen Dunst as a woman coming to grips with the end of the world. The film is said to have a received a polite, if not thunderous applause.