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I'm a Nazi! - Just kidding
May 18, 2011 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Outspoken Danish Film Director Lars Von Trier, famous for making films in which women have a really hard time, plugged his new film Melancholia at Cannes in somewhat controversial fashion.

Press Conference "I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out that I was really a Nazi, because my family is German. And that also gave me some pleasure. So, I, what can I say? I understand Hitler. I think he did some wrong things but I can see him sitting in his bunker... I'm saying that I think I understand the man. He is not what we could call a good guy, but yeah, I understand much about him and I sympathize with him ... But come on! I'm not for the Second World War. And I'm not against Jews. No, not even Susanne Bier. I am very much for them. As much as Israelis are a pain in the ass. How do I get out of this sentence? Okay, I am a Nazi. (Later asked about doing a blockbuster) “Yes. We Nazis have a tendency to try to do things on a greater scale. Maybe I could do the Final Solution.” The organisers were 'disturbed' and Von Trier has issued a statement of apology. As for the film, it's yet another "giggling aria of pretend pain and faux rapture".
posted by joannemullen (140 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nobody ever said you had to be smart to be famous.
posted by facetious at 5:08 PM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love how he told Dunst "Wait, this is going somewhere..." and then actually got crazier.
posted by Fizz at 5:09 PM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is such a non-event.
posted by klue at 5:11 PM on May 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


Yet perhaps this disaster was written in the stars, because a rogue planet called Melancholia is heading for Earth on a collision course.

Ha! This post complements the previous one quite well.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:11 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where's a heckler when you need one?
posted by louche mustachio at 5:15 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


LvT. What a disappointment. Brilliant debut in Element of Crime. Then pretty much only disappointment. The Five Obstructions was fun, but it can hardly be called his film. He hasn't done anything worthwhile in like, forever. This sounds like a stab at raising a bit of controversy (all publicity is good publicity - see Tyler, the Creator) to tout his film and it all went badly wrong. I really have no expectation of anything interesting coming from LvT anymore, the guy appears to be a completely lost cause.
posted by VikingSword at 5:15 PM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Von Trier just needs to make stuff like Riget again. Then the cosmic order will be restored, and this stunty shit won't be necessary.
posted by nonmerci at 5:15 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Be prepared to take the Good with the Evil.
posted by Redfield at 5:18 PM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Finally: an FPP that preempts any attempt to Godwin it.
posted by Papaver somniferum at 5:19 PM on May 18, 2011 [17 favorites]


I love Lars von Trier FOREVER. Almost every time I've seen a trailer for one of his upcoming films, it seemed to speak with shocking specificity to something I was going through at the time.

Melancholia is no exception. Except for since everyone in the world was determined to spoiler Antichrist for people MONTHS before it was released in the US, I won't be reading anything that discusses LvT or the movie until I've actually seen it.
posted by hermitosis at 5:27 PM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Where's the inevitable Downfall vid?
posted by mwhybark at 5:31 PM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


He also said Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg want to make a hardcore porn together:

“Now she wants more. That’s how women are, and Charlotte is behind this. They want a really, really, really hardcore film this time, and I’m doing my best,” von Trier said, as Dunst and Gainsbourg chuckled uncomfortably beside him.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:33 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish I could get paid thousands and thousands of dollars to masturbate slowly in public while spouting gibberish.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:34 PM on May 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


I love The Element of Crime and I like Europa; Dancer in the Dark and Dogville both have wonderful ideas, which mostly get used in interesting ways in the former and feel somewhat wasted in the latter.

Melancholia sounds interesting. I've long since learned to roll my eyes and try to ignore von Trier as a human being. Mostly his films--and his personality--are unpleasant, but sometimes he has interesting ideas.
posted by byanyothername at 5:35 PM on May 18, 2011


I wonder if there is an app on my iphone that tells me how to handle a situation when the person to the right of me starts going on about how he's a nazi. *scrolls.
posted by Fizz at 5:43 PM on May 18, 2011


Okay, I was a fan until Antichrist
And with Antichrist, I really do not understand how the takeaway from that film was anything but Women Are Evil and Will Drill Holes in Your Leg
I admire him for his technique; his visual style is really effective.
But really, fuck him forever and ever for Antichrist. Like Irreversible, the film wants to hurt the audience. Unlike Irreversible, the film has no beneficial qualities, its visual effects notwithstanding.
posted by angrycat at 5:44 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Comments like this are why people constantly dismiss his films as pretentious, misogynistic, anti-American, perverse, maudlin, etc. I like your movies, Trier, I do, but I cannot decide if you're earnest or merely a provocateur. Maybe you're both? Jeez, not even Vincent Gallo leaves me this conflicted.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 5:44 PM on May 18, 2011


Here's the Heckler! Actually, the lyrics to the first verse and chorus could be accurately applied to von Trier.

Through the door it slithers in,
Accompanied by its peers.
Always groveling for attention,
While no one really hears.
In its mind it's full of wit
And quite the social king.
Plants itself among the rest
To give the deadly sting.

It's just a matter of opinion.


Also, Riget was awesome. Stig Helmer!
posted by Existential Dread at 5:51 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know who else is famous and stupid?
posted by Splunge at 5:51 PM on May 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Nobody ever said you had to be smart to be famous.

Intelligence is an anti-requisite for fame these days. If you want to get famous, get stupid first. Then slimy, desperate, and conniving. You'll be a flash in the pan and you'll implode, but hey, fame is fame...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 5:54 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only Van Trier movie I've seen is Dancer in the Dark, and it's my firm belief that it is the worst movie ever made.

I wish nothing but calamity and doom on him for making me suffer through that ugly and stupid movie.
posted by empath at 5:57 PM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Weird backstory, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Lars Trier was born in Kongens Lyngby, north of Copenhagen, the son of Inger Trier (née Høst). He had believed that his biological father was Ulf Trier, but his mother revealed to him on her deathbed that he had been conceived as a result of an affair she had with her employer, Fritz Michael Hartmann....Trier has noted that he was brought up in an atheist family, and that although Ulf Trier was Jewish, he was not religious. He did not discover the identity of his biological father until 1989.
posted by craichead at 5:57 PM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dogville is worth checking out.
posted by adipocere at 5:58 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I liked Dancer in the Dark simply because Trier has never been to the North American, but set the film in the US, and filmed everything in Sweden. Quite fantastical.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:59 PM on May 18, 2011


Women Are Evil and Will Drill Holes in Your Leg

Dad was right?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:02 PM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


What the fuck did Susanne Bier do (other than make a wholly undeserving Best Foreign Film Oscar winner)?
posted by eugenen at 6:07 PM on May 18, 2011


"He also said Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg want to make a hardcore porn together"

tumid dahlia: "I wish I could get paid thousands and thousands of dollars to masturbate slowly in public while spouting gibberish."

Well, Kirsten and Charlotte are making this movie...

Oh, wait. No they're not. LVT's just being an ass. NevermindforgetIsaidanything.
posted by el_lupino at 6:11 PM on May 18, 2011


So it turns out he's actually a member of the British royal family?
posted by Artw at 6:13 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whatever. Lars von Trier is an artist. That conference looked pretty somber and stolid throughout, and he was probably trying to lighten the mood with some humor. Lars von Trier is an artist, but not a stand up comedian. He tried and failed. Maybe he was trying to create some publicity for the movie, knowing it would make people angry/talk, or maybe he is just a weird artist type and sometimes spouts out nonsense before thinking about it. I'd bet on the latter.

I liked The Kingdom and Breaking the Waves, but he started losing me with Dancer in the Dark and I found Dogville the most pretentious film ever ever ever.
posted by zardoz at 6:25 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


empath: “The only Van Trier movie I've seen is Dancer in the Dark, and it's my firm belief that it is the worst movie ever made. I wish nothing but calamity and doom on him for making me suffer through that ugly and stupid movie.”

You obviously haven't seen Dogville.
posted by koeselitz at 6:33 PM on May 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


zardoz: “Whatever. Lars von Trier is an artist. That conference looked pretty somber and stolid throughout, and he was probably trying to lighten the mood with some humor. Lars von Trier is an artist, but not a stand up comedian. He tried and failed. Maybe he was trying to create some publicity for the movie, knowing it would make people angry/talk, or maybe he is just a weird artist type and sometimes spouts out nonsense before thinking about it. I'd bet on the latter.”

He is an artist – an artist whose job is to write words and stories and then have people say those words and film it and turn it into movies. Such an artist probably shouldn't be oblivious to the way people will hear the words he says.
posted by koeselitz at 6:34 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lars von Trier is an artist, but not a stand up comedian. He tried and failed.

Yeah! Everyone knows that if you don't understand a joke, it must be *art*
posted by KokuRyu at 6:35 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, Dogville has a happy ending.
posted by Artw at 6:35 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


But that's not fair. You can tack David Bowie onto the end of a lot of things and they seem happier.
posted by koeselitz at 6:37 PM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


You know who else had a happy ending?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:38 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, so a thought that's been bouncing around in my head for a while is this: Hitler is a Western bogeyman and history is the closet in which he is stuffed.

As far as I understand it, Godwin's law works not because bringing Hitler into things is a natural false equivalency, but because the false equivalency itself only works because we make Hitler out to be the kind of scapegoat for all that isn't human. He's become a regular benchmark for what is inhuman and anything attached to him becomes decidedly icky in ridiculous, unquestioned ways. Yet, those we praise as heroes (Caesar, Alexander, Genghis Khan, etc) also perpetrated similar systems of mass murder. They are just far so far removed that they become the bogeymen in someone else's closet. With no diaries of Chinese girls being raped to death by the Japanese, we let Hirohito off the hook.

The immediacy of Hitler, and Bin Laden, and Kim Jong Il, and Qaddafi, and so on, creates this hero/villain polemic that basically sets us, whoever we are, as good guys and those guys, them, as bad bad dudes. The obsession we have against anything even remotely apologetic or humanizing towards these bogeymen brings to mind the critical reaction towards the Master's history of Pontius Pilate in The Master and Margarita; in humanizing Yeshua the Jew, the Master is instantly written off because of the associative power of Jesus in a rabidly atheist USSR. Whether or not the Master's works can stand on their aesthetic and artistic own is dictated not by these qualities, but by how much they fall in with party lines. Like Jesus, the Hitler bogeyman brings out the spittle and we're left with being critical of the man and not the work.

So for you knocking von Trier for this comment, as if it's a symbol of a hack, meh. von Trier knows that the idea of Hitler as a bogeyman is ridiculous. All this overreaction to what's ostensibly just a flat bit of satire is entirely unnecessary.
posted by dubusadus at 6:40 PM on May 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


Breaking the Waves has a happy ending, it's just not of the typical Hollywood variety.
posted by nonmerci at 6:43 PM on May 18, 2011


David Bowie

Come to think of it, has Von Trier claimed to be bisexual, or from Mars?

You know who else had a happy ending?

A member of the british royal family?

/decade old tabloid reference
posted by Artw at 6:44 PM on May 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


The immediacy of Hitler, and Bin Laden, and Kim Jong Il, and Qaddafi, and so on, creates this hero/villain polemic that basically sets us, whoever we are, as good guys and those guys, them, as bad bad dudes.

No, it sets us up as ok people in comparison to Hitler. Think of the worst thing you've ever done in your life. Whatever it is, it's not as bad as what Hitler did, is it? Then turn that frown upside down and move along!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:52 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, having watched the panel, the "Hitler" thing, while silly and really, really dumb, doesn't bother me nearly as much as the gross stuff Lars seems to want to inflict on the two highly respectable and very talented women he's lucky enough to have in his movie. That crap kind of made me want to puke.
posted by koeselitz at 7:06 PM on May 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Antichrist, what an asshole.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:10 PM on May 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


My first exposure to Von Trier was when they showed both "seasons" of The Kingdom, as one crazy-long movie, at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto. It was a mind-blowing experience; something that creeped me out on a level I can't begin to explain or understand, and that nothing else has done since (Ju-On came close, though). He's pretty much got a lifetime pass from me for that.
posted by Shepherd at 7:12 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh. Ok, so I saw Zentropa years ago, and I hadn't realized it was by Lars Von Trier. But when I looked it up, it turns out that the Nazi family in the movie share a last name with Von Trier's real-life biological father, the existence of whom he discovered right before he made the movie. (The family in the movie made the train cars that took Jews to their death during the Holocaust, and they're involved in some sort of stealth Nazi movement in the immediate aftermath of World War II. The protagonist, a clueless young American whose heritage is German and who has come to Germany to help rebuild, gets caught up in their plot and ends up drowning in one of their train cars. It's hard not to read it as some sort of metaphor for fucked up daddy drama.) And this book review suggests that the whole "am I Jewish or am I German" identity crisis is sort of part of the Von Trier mystique.
In a sense Stevenson’s project is a matter of translating the Danish legend surrounding von Trier into a language that is more widely understood. Stevenson touches on all of the key elements in this legendary discourse, examples being Lars Trier’s provocative appropriation of the aristocratic ‘von’ and his mother’s stunningly worded confession on her deathbed to an affair that made Lars the son of a Protestant bureaucrat with the ‘right’ kind of artistic genes, rather than of the left-leaning Ulf Trier whose Jewish heritage had significantly shaped the filmmaker’s sense of self.


Is it possible that he thought he was joking about a sort of established part of the Lars Von Trier story, and he didn't realize that his audience wasn't necessarily familiar with that story?
posted by craichead at 7:14 PM on May 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


You obviously haven't seen Dogville.

And you obviously haven't seen The Idiots.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:21 PM on May 18, 2011


Yet, those we praise as heroes (Caesar, Alexander, Genghis Khan, etc)

Whut.

You mean the guy known for burning villages and raping and whatnot? Maybe infamous, but not really someone most people praise, no. Caesar and Alexander even, we hardly speak about them in hushed tones or still repeat the PR stories they put about regarding their own virtue and/or god-lineage. They're just Prominent Dudes of History--I can't remember any history teacher of mine ever telling us they were awesome. Mostly they were good at conquering and had the good luck to get written about a lot.
posted by emjaybee at 7:48 PM on May 18, 2011


Dogville was the one that convinced me to never ever watch a Von Trier film again.

It was just a lot of bleakness for bleakness sake. I know there are terrible things going on in the world, but the spectrum of good and bad is very wide and contains a lot of gray. A movie that doesn't contain at least a sliver of possibility in the opposite direction feels more like a manifesto than a real movie to me.

Dogville felt like Von Trier screaming at the top of his lungs for two hours, yelling that we were all stupid and naive idiots because we believe that people might have the tiny posibility of redeeming qualities.
posted by Omon Ra at 7:55 PM on May 18, 2011


Come on, it's Lars. What did you expect? Wasn't it just last year that he used the very same occasion to call himself "the world's greatest filmmaker." Very much looking forward to Melancholia, as well as Kaurismaki's Le Havre. I saw Tree of Life, the other Golden Palm contender, on Monday, and it blew me away.
posted by muckster at 8:02 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dancer in the Dark was my favorite film, period, for a number of years. I watched it recently for the first time in a long while, and it was weird to realize I still had almost every shot memorized.

I always thought that it was rather silly that a point of contention was made out of his movies which were set in America but filmed abroad. Hollywood does this all the time with movies set in Europe.
posted by hermitosis at 8:15 PM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Still no Downfall video? What is this, 2005?
posted by mwhybark at 8:25 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Danish Tourism Videos by Lars Von Trier

I have to say I am fairly ignorant of Lars Von Trier's work - I have heard of Antichrist, that's about it. But I have a fleeting familiarity with Scandinavian cinematic art, and I think that it's great that he's making it. I probably won't ever see any of it, but it's great he is making it.

And saying outrageously unbelievable stuff to gullible and pretentious poseurs? I like his style. I doff my hat to Troll Royalty.
posted by Xoebe at 8:41 PM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh I should probably add I don't mean you all when I mention poseurs. I am thinking of the media-fueled-outrage-community. Sigh. Maybe at my advancing age, I find the outrage just amusing.
posted by Xoebe at 9:02 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


So Melencholia is a film version of Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask?

What LVT said was horrible, but I appreciate that sort of provocation.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:20 PM on May 18, 2011


Lars: What's wrong with everybody?
Agent: You thanked Hitler.
Lars: I never!
Agent: You thanked Hitler!
Lars: Why would I thank Hitler?
Agent: Hmm, why would you thank Hitler... I don't know!
Lars: I can't believe I thanked Hitler!
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:26 PM on May 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


The video of his remarks gave me douche chills, but every movie I've seen by him has challenged me and stuck in my head for days or weeks afterward. There are some scenes that still haunt me. That's a sign of successful art. I don't have to like the guy as a person. I respect him immensely as a filmmaker. (I'm not going to write out a long defense of his movies or style, or explain why I don't think he's a misogynist. I'm no film scholar and this thread is looking especially dismissive, no doubt I'd be torn to shreds.)
posted by naju at 9:36 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Help! I'm stuck in a Rhaomi loop!
posted by nzero at 9:57 PM on May 18, 2011


I thought dogville was brilliant and challenging, personally. But I barely remember it now.
posted by neuromodulator at 11:04 PM on May 18, 2011


Maybe infamous, but not really someone most people praise, no.

Very popular with Mongols, obviously, and considered a national hero in China, somewhat more controversially (but largely because he wasn't Han, not due to the pillage and rapine).
posted by Abiezer at 11:08 PM on May 18, 2011


And with Antichrist, I really do not understand how the takeaway from that film was anything but Women Are Evil and Will Drill Holes in Your Leg... fuck him forever and ever for Antichrist.

In the same Cannes interview, it was mentioned that Charlotte Gainsbourg was a stand-in for Lars von Trier in that movie. I honestly think he had something in mind other than the simplistic message you took away from it. Did we see the same movie?
posted by naju at 11:22 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Charlotte Gainsbourg: 'I felt I was portraying Lars von Trier', defends the film and Von Trier against the charge that he hates and exploits women
posted by naju at 11:25 PM on May 18, 2011


You do realize this is the Cannes Film Festival? Right?
THe words Cannes + Film + Controversial stirs up about 7,880,000 results on Google.
Last year the Telegraph produced a beginner's guide to controversy at Cannes.
And today we have Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In.
posted by adamvasco at 11:55 PM on May 18, 2011


Recently I watched Ursula Meiers' Home, and noticed that the American version had a voice over by Glenn Close. I was surprised as the movie in my opinion didn't need one. Then I checked the reviews on Rottentomatoes, and was suprised again as a lot of reviewers only seemed to see the obvious storyline and miss the more subtle ones. European press was raving, American press only liked it that much.

My point: I have a feeling there's a larger gap between European cinema and American cinema than you'd expect.
A point that seems to be proven with all the LvT bashing that's going on here.

Being a good (or at least interesting) director doesn't mean you're good at talking about your movies at a press conference. That's a whole different ballgame.
posted by charles kaapjes at 12:31 AM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Top personal tip: don't take a potential girlfriend to see "Breaking the Waves" on a first date.
posted by pharm at 12:44 AM on May 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


What puzzles me is why anyone acts in his films.
posted by Anything at 1:50 AM on May 19, 2011


Why am I reminded of Fawlty Towers?
posted by Splunge at 3:01 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone care? No? Excellent.
posted by R.Stornoway at 4:08 AM on May 19, 2011


Europa is awesome, reminded me (strangely) of North by Northwest (maybe its the train thing). Interesting (as noted upthread) that the Femme Fatale's family is named Hartmann, which I only learned today.

The Kingdom is ace but really bizarre. Still, miles better then the US version.

The idiots is a good but I am not a big Dogma fan.
posted by marienbad at 4:20 AM on May 19, 2011


As far as I understand it, Godwin's law works not because bringing Hitler into things is a natural false equivalency, but because the false equivalency itself only works because we make Hitler out to be the kind of scapegoat for all that isn't human. He's become a regular benchmark for what is inhuman and anything attached to him becomes decidedly icky in ridiculous, unquestioned ways. Yet, those we praise as heroes (Caesar, Alexander, Genghis Khan, etc) also perpetrated similar systems of mass murder.

The only way this statement makes any sense is if you are Lars von Trier, and are about to tell us that Lars von Trier is also a certified genius.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:50 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


charles kaapjes - I have a feeling there's a larger gap between European cinema and American cinema than you'd expect.

Huh. I've seen Home (saw it in french). I love Home. It's awesome. And I'm never watching a Von Trier's film again. Home has humanity, pathos and human characters. Dogville has a cast populated by inhuman monsters with basically no redeeming qualities other than the ability to inflict pain to each other. It's psychological torture porn. That's the least kind of subtle film there is.
posted by Omon Ra at 4:58 AM on May 19, 2011


Can someone please explain what is so shocking about Von Triers admission that he understands Hitler? Understanding does not equate sympathy, right?

In fact, not being able to understand Hitler and Nazism indicates ignorance, sanctimony and/or a very limited capacity for empathy.
posted by Bas at 5:13 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Understanding does not equate sympathy, right?


“I understand Hitler,” he then continued. “I think I understand the man, he’s not what you would call a good guy. But I understand much about him. And I sympathize with him a little bit.”
posted by Dumsnill at 5:29 AM on May 19, 2011


Bas: “Can someone please explain what is so shocking about Von Triers admission that he understands Hitler? Understanding does not equate sympathy, right? In fact, not being able to understand Hitler and Nazism indicates ignorance, sanctimony and/or a very limited capacity for empathy.”

First of all, Lars didn't say he "understands" Hitler is the sense of comprehension; he clearly meant "understand" in the sense of sympathizing with what he went through.

Second of all, nobody was really shocked at the part about understanding Hitler. It was the "I am a Nazi" part that we were flabbergasted by.
posted by koeselitz at 5:35 AM on May 19, 2011


Second of all, nobody was really shocked at the part about understanding Hitler. It was the "I am a Nazi" part that we were flabbergasted by.

I don't really see the problem with anything he said to be honest. He was clearly making a tasteless joke. And really, if you can't joke about the holocaust, what can you joke about?
posted by empath at 5:47 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Update: Cannes expels director von Trier over Nazi remarks.
posted by bouvin at 5:51 AM on May 19, 2011


"And I sympathize with him a little bit.”

I think he clearly meant 'empathize', as illustrated by his further comment about Hitler in his bunker. But even so, it may be true that empathy often generates sympathy - which is humanity's highest moral achievement.

I should have said, understanding does not equate condoning or supporting his actions - and Von Trier emphasized he did not.

It was the "I am a Nazi" part that we were flabbergasted by.

He said, first I was a Jew, then I realized my father was a German, therefore a Nazi. Ergo, all Germans are Nazis.

If you truly believe that, you are as bigotted as any Nazi. If you believe Von Trier believes that, you should not accuse him of antisemitism but rather of antigermanism.

So in fact, Von Trier has quite effectively brought out the Nazi in all of you.
posted by Bas at 5:54 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


While his Nazi comments were certainly in poor taste, I think expelling him from the festival is a silly overreaction.
posted by Dumsnill at 5:54 AM on May 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


*Now* it's news. Whoa.
posted by muckster at 6:00 AM on May 19, 2011


So in fact, Von Trier has quite effectively brought out the Nazi in all of you.

You know who else brought out the Nazis?
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:13 AM on May 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


You know who else was Hitler?

wait, are we done with that bit?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:16 AM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hmm... I don't really think he was actually trying to say he is an actual Nazi, despite the quite literal "I am a Nazi" bit. Not quite sure what he was trying to say, other then making joke that was in pretty poor taste.
posted by delmoi at 6:21 AM on May 19, 2011


But come on! I'm not for the Second World War. And I'm not against Jews.

i love von trier and love that he bites back at the press, which i think is what he was doing here, just this time it bit him back. i think the degree to which the outrage here is being manufactured is clear in how, article after article i've read since the story broke, the above lines are redacted from his statement.

it kind of reminds me of gore's statement about 'taking the initiative in creating the internet'. there's a reasonable interpretation within the full context of the statement, and while it can be understood that the media often will miss the nuance of something, they're no strangers to milking all shock value out of a willful misinterpretation.

I don't really think he was actually trying to say he is an actual Nazi, despite the quite literal "I am a Nazi" bit. Not quite sure what he was trying to say...

i think it is basically that he had a conception of who he was, in terms of where he came from, and discovered that he was actually, in a sense, what he had previously despised.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 6:31 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck Lars von Trier. With his ego inflated after a 30 minute blowjob from the Cannes press corps he tried to juggle live grenades in front of an audience just to show how edgy he was and guess what - that shit exploded in his face. Serves him right. "I understand Hitler" my ass. Call it payback for the hours of my life I lost watching Dancer in the Dark AND Dogville.
posted by falameufilho at 7:15 AM on May 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can't disagree more strongly with VikingSword about the comparative quality of LvT's films over the years. His early full length films didn't feel complete to me in any way. Was anyone here really not annoyed by Epidemic? Not put to sleep by Medea? I simply love everything he's done in the last decade though. I think he's really hit his stride.
posted by heatvision at 7:15 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like Dancer In The Dark. I can understand why a lot of people hate it, and by far the most common criticism I hear about it is that the main character makes some monumentally stupid and frustrating decisions which makes the plot seem contrived, which is a valid point. Personally though, I can't really think of film that does a better job of exploring escapism. The classic musicals that the film plays off of were popular because they were bright happy spectacles that let people forget about their problems, and that's the way that the songs function in the film. The one song they use from another musical, My Favourite Things, is explicitly about escapism. If you focus on the plot, it will be a very unsatisfying film from a narrative perspective, but when it comes to evoking the feeling of someone retreating into a fantasy life to protect themselves from the world, I think it succeeds.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:42 AM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Early films, over aestheticized wankery, middle films draining effective emotional torture porn, later films genius.

Dogville is brilliant. So is Antichrist.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:46 AM on May 19, 2011


Bas: “He said, first I was a Jew, then I realized my father was a German, therefore a Nazi. Ergo, all Germans are Nazis. If you truly believe that, you are as bigotted as any Nazi. If you believe Von Trier believes that, you should not accuse him of antisemitism but rather of antigermanism. So in fact, Von Trier has quite effectively brought out the Nazi in all of you.”

Look, first of all, Lars has always claimed that Fritz Michael Hartmann – his biological father – actually was a Nazi, and by all accounts this seems to be true. As in: not simply a German, but actually a Nazi. Now, I can imagine that Lars might just spread this rumor about his biological father out of bitterness; it would be in keeping with the whole way he talks about it. But the whole "Germans are Nazis" thing is also inadvisable, yes. I agree.

But nobody has accused him of antisemitism.

As I said above, the Nazi thing didn't really bother me. And I encourage you to read this thread, snarky as it may be, and point to a single person who's really shocked or outraged. Lots of people here loath von Trier – myself included – but that's not because we're under the silly impression that he's an antisemite. Nobody thinks this. It's because we can't stand his movies.

Finally, again, the Nazi thing is nothing. It's unimportant. The shocking and appalling thing in that panel was the way Lars von Trier thought it was appropriate to spout sexist nonsense and disrespect his female stars by suggesting ridiculously inappropriate things that clearly made them uncomfortable. And for that, I would have thrown him out of the festival myself.
posted by koeselitz at 7:47 AM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dogville has a cast populated by inhuman monsters with basically no redeeming qualities other than the ability to inflict pain to each other. It's psychological torture porn.

I think that's total baloney. The whole point of Dogville was that its characters were everyday people living in isolation, who were pushed into a bizarre social experiment by a pseudo-intellectual malcontent. Though most of them were ignorant and rather sheltered, most of them had plenty of good qualities -- we saw them express solidarity, charity, familial love, even a willingness to test their own spiritual mettle by participating in Tom's experiment (Tom being, of course, a stand-in for the director). What was important was that these people were capable of possessing these qualities while ALSO being capable of abuses such as slavery and rape -- a paradox with plenty of real-life precedent.

Anyhow, whether their good qualities are meant to be "redemptive" is beside the point. Part of the genius of setting the film on a mostly-bare stage is that it constantly reminds you that this is NOT real life, these are NOT real people, or even fully-formed characters. They're projections, shadow-puppets, short-hand. Which is why they can ultimately be folded up and incinerated in the end with little consequence, if that's what the director wants -- when Grace (Nicole Kidman) wrests control of the plot away from von Trier (aka Tom) at the end of the film, it's a relief for the audience; it's then when you realize that von Trier sympathizes more with his heroine than he does with Tom, his own avatar. I can't think of many directors capable of that kind of self-abnegation.

He does this a LOT -- in Antichrist, as mentioned above, he is clearly responding to the those who deride him as a misogynist. This time around, the female von Trier stand-in is revealed to have deep-seated issues of self-loathing that revolve around her gender. She is a misogynist. The movie paints her first as a victim, but gradually as a delusional menace. But it's made clear that the problem is all just her, not women in general. I think the film showed that he was listening to his detractors, and was inspired by them.

It may be psychologically upsetting to let yourself become engaged in such prickly ethical/intellectual scenarios, but it's not pornography. It's only pornography if you think someone's getting off on it. And I don't think he is -- I think he's a deeply unhappy person, and his films voice all his misgivings about humanity. They also reveal the small things he loves about humanity, which do seem to redeem it occasionally. Dogville and Manderlay are both full of tiny moments of peaceful humanity, where the camera seems to practically caress the characters -- without seeing these moments of peace and felicity, why would anyone care whether all the "monsters" extinguished each other entirely? Such is life.
posted by hermitosis at 7:53 AM on May 19, 2011 [10 favorites]


The shocking and appalling thing in that panel was the way Lars von Trier thought it was appropriate to spout sexist nonsense and disrespect his female stars by suggesting ridiculously inappropriate things that clearly made them uncomfortable. And for that, I would have thrown him out of the festival myself.

Well there's all sorts of nazis, and he clearly brought out the feminist/anti-misogyn type in you. Good work Lars, I'd say, adding that I admire any artist who can make so many people 'loath' their work, rather than leave them indifferent. I guess art is much like publicity in this sense.

Von Trier is an artist, not your regular sellout Hollywood director bound by studio and bank account to forever make his 'female stars' as well as his American public comfortable all the time with the bland 'appropriateness' you seem to value so much.
posted by Bas at 8:18 AM on May 19, 2011


Well there's all sorts of nazis, and he clearly brought out the feminist/anti-misogyn type in you.
You must be fucking kidding me.
posted by craichead at 8:24 AM on May 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well there's all sorts of nazis, and he clearly brought out the feminist/anti-misogyn type in you.

C'mon, man. Just say it. "Feminazi". Nobody's going to be able to think less of you for that.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:24 AM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


His comments at Cannes are exactly what's meant by the slang term "diarrhea of the mouth." Clearly he has some idea of what's expected of him in public, but lacks the presence to pull it off -- or to get out while he's still ahead.

No wonder he doesn't grant many interviews.
posted by hermitosis at 8:27 AM on May 19, 2011


His newest remarks today go a bit further in explaining and apologizing, though they also muddle things even more, in true LvT fashion. It also ends with something I find genuinely hilarious, credit where its due:

Finally, the director said his own Jewish background -- his father, Ulf, was Jewish, although the director learned as an adult that the man was not his biological parent -- complicates the question of what he does and doesn't feel comfortable saying about Jews. "Half my life I've made very many Jewish jokes because when you are Jewish, you're allowed to do that. And now I feel kind of in-between."

But then he seemed to undercut the sensitivity of the moment when he added, "I'm very much into the Jewish stuff. Even when I found out I'm not Jewish by my genes, all my children have Jewish names. I'm actually -- pauses -- too Jewish." And then realizing how that could be misconstrued, "Oh ...", using an obscenity and leaning his forehead against the table in a playful what-have-I-done pose. "Don't write that." He added, "I'm just an idiot that should just say home in Denmark and never talk to anybody."

posted by naju at 8:37 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


His comments at Cannes are exactly what's meant by the slang term "diarrhea of the mouth."

He's said the exact same things before in interviews, which incidentally are more entertaining and enlightening than the inane utterances of most of his colleagues.

Whatever you think of his movies, Lars von Trier has obviously thought and felt more about morality and ambivalence than any of his detractors. This is in fact perfectly illustrated by the Cannes incident as well as all the pathetic "'loathing" on display in this thread, by people who "can't stand" his movies.
posted by Bas at 8:38 AM on May 19, 2011


Man, there's a "leave Britney alone!" gag just waiting to happen here, but I can't shake the feeling that it might be ... in poor taste. Would that I were as refreshingly unconstrained as Lars von Trier!
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:51 AM on May 19, 2011


This is in fact perfectly illustrated by the Cannes incident as well as all the pathetic "'loathing" on display in this thread, by people who "can't stand" his movies.

Welcome to metafilter, Lars!
posted by empath at 8:56 AM on May 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


Here's hoping this means he's working on an adaptation of a Sven Hassel book.
posted by Artw at 9:01 AM on May 19, 2011


Would that I were as refreshingly unconstrained as Lars von Trier!

Luckily, to be refreshingly unconstrained is the prerogative of people who actually have something to say, at least more than the inane, google-powered meme-throwing you've displayed so far.

Welcome to metafilter, Lars!

Makes sense. If you don't actively and explicitly detest his work, you have to be him!
Truly an uplifiting discourse here...
posted by Bas at 9:01 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Welcome to metafilter, Lars!

Makes sense. If you don't actively and explicitly detest his work, you have to be him!


i think it's more a commentary on how there's nobody so popular or appreciated that there's not a mefi contingent to put them down...in the sense that lars is being welcomed to the mefi treatment...like gaga, for instance
posted by fallacy of the beard at 9:06 AM on May 19, 2011


Von Trier is an artist, not your regular sellout Hollywood director bound by studio and bank account to forever make his 'female stars' as well as his American public comfortable all the time with the bland 'appropriateness' you seem to value so much.

Also, he denies them his essence.
posted by fullerine at 9:09 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was really more that I thought he sounded exactly like Scott Adams defending himself here.
posted by empath at 9:10 AM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


hermitosis said it much better, but i love von trier because his work has communicated something incredibly deep and moving to me, even if i can't rationally explain it point by point. i even see the seeds of it in epidemic.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 9:10 AM on May 19, 2011


Luckily, to be refreshingly unconstrained is the prerogative of people who actually have something to say, at least more than the inane, google-powered meme-throwing you've displayed so far.

Well, obviously I don't have the creative prowess of Lars von Trier, or I'd have scripted a redemptive finale for this FPP where I got gangbanged to death by a boatload of sailors. However, my aims are nowhere near as noble as von Trier's, either. I'm not creating great art; I'm just taking time out from my day to play Internet wiffleball with an overwrought Dutch simpleton.

Actually, that does sound a bit like a von Trier film. Ship ahoy!
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:15 AM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hmm, how about we help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site? Feel like I saw that suggested somewhere.
posted by hermitosis at 9:19 AM on May 19, 2011


I think that would work better if it came directly after the sustained personal abuse from someone who shares your emphatically positive opinion of von Trier's work, hermitosis, rather than when somebody responds to Bas' escalating personal abuse by taking a pop back. But, sure, if Bas can guarantee that he won't attempt to make this discussion in any way personal from now on - and that includes calling people nazis, irony fans! - I can't imagine there'll be a problem.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:25 AM on May 19, 2011


Bas: “Well there's all sorts of nazis, and he clearly brought out the feminist/anti-misogyn type in you. Good work Lars, I'd say, adding that I admire any artist who can make so many people 'loath' their work, rather than leave them indifferent. I guess art is much like publicity in this sense.”

Well, you're the one insisting that there are Nazis around every corner here; none of us thought it was anything but a tasteless joke. Personally, I've always found it annoying and incongruous when people misuse the word "Nazi" in this way; it's like the word "fascist" – it loses some of its meaning every time people use it to mean "someone who doesn't like a particular kind of art."

Moreover, I should note that your willingness to take stands in the name of good taste and reverence for art is quite courageous. Most of us are held back from making such bold stands by a mundane compunction toward justice. You're clearly not constrained by such banal considerations – art is so much more important than justice!

“Von Trier is an artist, not your regular sellout Hollywood director bound by studio and bank account to forever make his 'female stars' as well as his American public comfortable all the time with the bland 'appropriateness' you seem to value so much.”

I'm sure it won't surprise you when I point out that I also disdain "your regular Hollywood director" (f'rinstance) precisely because of my value for "bland appropriateness" and for that oh-so-boring ideal, feminism. But at this point I've probably put you to sleep with my bourgeois ramblings.
posted by koeselitz at 9:27 AM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it's essential to make a distinction between a man and his actions - or his work, for that matter. This goes for understanding Hitler, appreciating Von Trier, as well as anonymously abusing a 'Dutch simpleton' for deriding your comments (as opposed to your person).
posted by Bas at 9:35 AM on May 19, 2011


I'm not picking on anyone... I did say "we," after all. Also, I think it's funny that you imagine I'd rush to someone's side in a personal squabble because we share the same taste in movies.
posted by hermitosis at 9:38 AM on May 19, 2011


I've heard that the title of von Trier's next dogme film will be The Dutch Simpletons.
posted by Dumsnill at 9:38 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's essential to make a distinction between a man and his actions - or his work, for that matter. This goes for understanding Hitler.

The whole holocaust thing is neither here nor there to me. His paintings, though. Dreadful. Completely inexcusable.
posted by empath at 9:45 AM on May 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sorry for spamming but I missed this one:

Moreover, I should note that your willingness to take stands in the name of good taste and reverence for art is quite courageous. Most of us are held back from making such bold stands by a mundane compunction toward justice. You're clearly not constrained by such banal considerations – art is so much more important than justice!

Art has nothing to do with justice, that's a category mistake.

I don't really know what good taste means with reference to art. I'm prepared to take a stand in the name of reverence for art though, but I'm sure you'd know it if I did.
posted by Bas at 9:52 AM on May 19, 2011


naju (Quoting Lars): "I'm just an idiot that should just say home in Denmark and never talk to anybody."

Finally something we can all agree to.
posted by falameufilho at 10:07 AM on May 19, 2011


hermitosis: I imagined no such thing. I merely commented that the timing of your post looked unfortunate, given that Bas had first started calling people Nazis some time previously. But I see how one might read it that way, and apologize for the misunderstanding.

Bas: I think it's essential to make a distinction between a man and his actions - or his work, for that matter.

Whereas I would suggest that this is a misunderstanding of the concept of separating l'homme and l'oeuvre - the fan's fallacy, if you like. Unless one has access to a person's inner life, they essentially are their actions and comments - including the actions they take when making films, and the films that result from their actions. Believing that one has special insight into the inner life of a celebrity - especially a celebrity of whom one is a huge fan - is a pleasant delusion, but a delusion nonetheless.

I'm happy to acknowledge that my assessment was based entirely on your contribution - which started by calling everyone who wouldn't leave Lars alone Nazis and went downhill from there - and thus that the real you, the beautiful, complicated, sensitive you, in no way resembles the caricature you have created here. I'd imagine the same applies to Lars von Trier. In a sense, we are only ever responding to personae. If your persona stops calling people Nazis, and suggesting feminism is a subset of Nazism, I'm sure it will seem less overwrought.

koeselitz: In a sense, any actress working with von Trier must have a sense of what she's letting herself in for - figuratively, because accounts of his directing style are by now well-publicized, and literally, because they will at some point have access to the script, and will be able to count how many times "Anna is violated and dehumanized in a fashion that will make the audience question the nature of entertainment and what their response says about them as people" appears in the stage directions. Suggesting that two actresses who have worked with him want to make a sexy movie together is admittedly a new one, but it's not wholly outside the conceivable set of things Lars von Trier would be likely to do.

On the other hand, he's clearly doing something right, because A-to-B-list talent continues to want to work with him. I think part of that might be the same that his films get - that being in a Lars von Trier film allows one to access unplumbed depths within one's self as an actor just as watching one allows one to access unplumbed depths in oneself as a cinéaste. And, in part, it might be that European directors get dispensation to be odd in a way that American directors tend not to - consider the career of Vincent Gallo, in fact, who appears never entirely to have recovered from Brown Bunny.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:08 AM on May 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


("I think part of that might be the same marketing that his films get", even)
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:12 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whereas I would suggest that this is a misunderstanding of the concept of separating l'homme and l'oeuvre - the fan's fallacy, if you like. Unless one has access to a person's inner life, they essentially are their actions and comments - including the actions they take when making films, and the films that result from their actions. Believing that one has special insight into the inner life of a celebrity - especially a celebrity of whom one is a huge fan - is a pleasant delusion, but a delusion nonetheless.

I'm not a Von Trier fan, that's a figment of your agitated mind. I admire some of his work. I also admire the works of many artists most people, including in some cases, myself, would consider morally depraved. That's because I don't measure my appreciation for their work with the same yardstick I use for their (other) behavior. As I said, inserting moral considerations into artistic evaluation is a category mistake.

Likewise, moral considerations usually impede our understanding of history and historical figures. Which is why understanding Hitler is impossible without disregarding, at least for the moment, the morality of his actions.

As to hurling personal insults to people on community blogs, I'd say that's plain stupid rather than morally depraved. And as another Dutch simpleton once wrote, an intelligent man has to be very depraved to be as insufferable as a stupid one.
posted by Bas at 10:34 AM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have no idea who you are arguing with, but it isn't me. Congratulations on not being a fan of Lars von Trier, though!
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:48 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm just trying to figure out whether you mean to call yourself very depraved or not Bas, but maybe you could dial back your inflammatory rhetoric a tad. Also von Trier is Danish, not Dutch.
posted by whir at 11:58 AM on May 19, 2011


Well there's all sorts of nazis, and he clearly brought out the feminist/anti-misogyn type in you.

Oh no.
posted by angrycat at 12:06 PM on May 19, 2011


This "sense of humor" is quite typical of Danish males of Lars Trier's age and class. The cartoon crisis sprang out of the same sort of thinking. When I was younger, and interested in slightly older men, I would giggle, because I was certain they were joking and anyway, I was interested.
Since then, I've realized that they really don't get it. Or rather: they have a deep conflict with the reality of Danish society which they cannot resolve. The things they can't deal with are things which are important for me, like women's rights, equal opportunity, religious freedom, and critiques of authority.
Not that Lars Trier opposes these aspects of modern society, that would be absurd. But he (and many of his peers) seem to struggle with them in daily life and in art.

For me, it does mean I enjoy Trier's films less now than I did when I saw it all as a joke. I'm working on that, though, since there are lots of great artists I disagree with politically but whose work I enjoy.
posted by mumimor at 12:23 PM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


You obviously haven't seen Dogville.

Do you mind elaborating on that?
posted by ersatz at 12:35 PM on May 19, 2011


I was just snarking; I couldn't stand Dogville, and found it one of the worst movies I'd seen, much worse than Dancer In The Dark. But that's just how I personally felt, after all.

Also, I don't think Dogville proves that Lars "hates Americans," as some people seem to; it's pretty obvious from that and other films that Lars just hates humans in general. I don't mean that idly; there might be something beautiful in noticing the hateful things about human creatures, and if anybody can find it, it's Lars. That just seems to be his style.
posted by koeselitz at 1:25 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


LvT has overstayed his welcome.

He's apparently a massive putz and a spaz, and people should not put him in front of a microphone.

His films have always been oppressive, so I'd say, he's actually not so far off in what he said, or perhaps what he was alluding to as he is a sort of emotional fascist of sorts, but the earlier stuff had a quirky eccentric humor to them and an attempt at worthwhile discovery, and I mean at least something like Breaking the Waves was a kind of achievement and had a startling impact, but his stuff recently seems to have lost everything but the oppressiveness, and an oppressiveness turned up to 11...

Anti-Christ just seems like one huge bit of masturbatory devil pr0n. I refuse to see it and waste any time on it. I just see no saving grace in that film or this new film either.
posted by Skygazer at 1:31 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


You see no saving grace in films you refuse to see?
posted by Dumsnill at 1:34 PM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


For once, I feel comforted that the comments in a thread largely ignore the news item at hand.
posted by Xezlec at 1:34 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I stopped watching Dogville after the third or fourth rape scene. Interesting use of storytelling and narrative technique but now that I'm reading up on it I'm glad I didn't sit through the rest.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:35 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


So in fact, Von Trier has quite effectively brought out the Nazi in all of you.

Von Trier is an artist, not your regular sellout Hollywood director bound by studio and bank account to forever make his 'female stars' as well as his American public comfortable all the time with the bland 'appropriateness' you seem to value so much.

Well there's all sorts of nazis, and he clearly brought out the feminist/anti-misogyn type in you.

Oh I get it now, this is all performance art, right?

Right?
posted by kmz at 1:55 PM on May 19, 2011


It's a good thing we know that at Cannes, it's a-ok to support rapists, but not people who say stupid shit about Nazism.
posted by jeather at 3:12 PM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was just snarking; I couldn't stand Dogville, and found it one of the worst movies I'd seen, much worse than Dancer In The Dark. But that's just how I personally felt, after all.

Heh, okay. I really enjoyed it, but taste is subjective.
posted by ersatz at 3:48 PM on May 19, 2011


Manohla Dargis:
I don’t believe Mr. von Trier is a Nazi; he’s just stupid and unthinking. Mr. von Trier, who apologized for his comments later on Wednesday, is an extremely awkward man who has always enjoyed playing the provocateur, riling up audiences and journalists who bait him. At the press conference here last year after the premiere of “Antichrist,” another calculated outrage, the first questioner demanded that Mr. von Trier justify why he had made that movie. This year, instead of supplying a provocation on screen, he turned his news conference into a sideshow, a freakishly self-destructive move. Anti-Semitic speech is illegal in France, and the board of directors at Cannes clearly felt it had no alternative but to ban Mr. von Trier.
posted by muckster at 3:52 PM on May 19, 2011


I'm going to say "meh" on the claim that what von Trier did could be identified as injure raciale in French law. The law says:

La diffamation comprise par les mêmes moyens envers une personne ou un groupe de personnes a raison de leur origine ou de leur non-appartence a une ethnie, une nation, une race ou un religion déterminée sera punie etc.

Just saying "I'm a Nazi" doesn't fit those criteria, and other statutes are aimed at anti-Semitic violence and vandalism, not speech per se. I don't think von Trier has come close to breaking any laws, apart from the laws of good taste. I do kind of wish, pace jeather, that people would look more at what in a regular workplace would arguably count as sexual harassment of Dunst and Gainsbourg, rather than this moment of attention-seeking encopresis.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:08 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


In a statement posted on the festival’s Web site the Cannes board of directors said it “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.”

While those are no doubt great ideals, I would think that a film festival of all things would also support the ideals of free expression. The more I think about it, the more grotesque I find the organizer's decision. God forbid a controversial filmmaker says something stupid at his own goddamn press conference.
posted by Dumsnill at 4:26 PM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I must now state for the record I am not Hitler"
posted by naju at 6:17 PM on May 19, 2011


Anti-Christ just seems like one huge bit of masturbatory devil pr0n. I refuse to see it and waste any time on it. I just see no saving grace in that film or this new film either.

Unfortunately that's just not how opinions about film work.
posted by hermitosis at 8:04 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


What the fuck did Susanne Bier do (other than make a wholly undeserving Best Foreign Film Oscar winner)?
posted by eugenen at 6:07 PM on May 18 [+] [!]
---
Susanne Bier and Lars von Trier are both working with Zentropa (von Triers company), and they know each other very well. Probably his nazi-jokes insulted her a bit, but still it should be seen as a part of the context, that she isn't just a random name. They represent opposing wings of the Danish film industri.

In fact all of von Triers ramblings is a joke, always, built on a depressing foundation of pain, doubt and Melancholia. Only his mocking eyes and his movies are telling the truth. Being a depressed Dane myself, I fully understand von Triers nature. I don't feel the smallest bit upset about his remarks and have difficulties understanding how any grown-up can be provoked. (Come and live with us, through the long danish winter, and you will develop an incredibly dark humor. Drawing Muhamed etc. is a national survival strategy: Laughing into the abyss!)


Everyone who likes the arts must admire the talents of both Speer and Riefenstahl - and even Hitler. Of course you can separate their talents from their cruel deeds. At the press conference, von Trier seriously states that he is against WW2 and that he isn't anti-semitic. And the rest of his remarks are clearly so ironic, that you have to be retarded not to notice it. Look at his eyes, hear the tone of his voice. It's just the lonely super-geek from your high-school reappearing.

And to eugenen: yes, Biutiful should have won Best Foreign Film! My little conspiracy theory is that Bardems mentioning of "Dinamarca" in Biutiful sent the Oscar our way ;-)
Biutiful is almost as disturbing, moving and changing as von Triers Antichrist... No, I'm just kidding. Wait, I'm not.
posted by noress at 8:11 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Come and live with us, through the long danish winter, and you will develop an incredibly dark humor. Drawing Muhamed etc. is a national survival strategy: Laughing into the abyss!)
That's interesting, because to an outsider, drawing Mohamed cartoons just seems like a way of reminding a despised minority of their marginalized status. And there's nothing special and Danish about that. That's an impulse that afflicts lots of people in places with nice weather, too!
Everyone who likes the arts must admire the talents of both Speer and Riefenstahl - and even Hitler.
That's just a moronic statement. Speer and Riefenstahl, sure. But what talents of Hitler's am I supposed to admire, exactly? His artistic talents? Please.

This is a really stupid controversy, and I agree that kicking him out of Cannes was a massive over-reaction. But I'm just not on board with the idea that professing admiration for Hitler is edgy and iconoclastic. It's juvenile, and it's the same Hitler-as-bogeyman bullshit that people here pretend to despise. It's provocation for provocation's sake, the same as all those high school kids who claimed to be Satanists in the '80s. And that's probably appropriate behavior if you're 15, but it's a bit pathetic to be pulling that kind of stunt as a grown-up.
posted by craichead at 8:56 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


His artistic talents? Please.

He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon! Two coats!
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:12 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks to Breaking the Waves, I can no longer listen to Life on Mars without feeling hollowed out and devastated. When's he gonna answer for that, huh?
posted by whuppy at 9:25 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Still no Downfall video? What is this, 2005?

Here you go.
posted by hot soup girl at 11:58 AM on May 20, 2011


hot soup girl: "> Still no Downfall video? What is this, 2005?

Here you go.
"

Oh thank God, now I can Rapture in peace.
posted by mwhybark at 6:40 PM on May 20, 2011


You see no saving grace in films you refuse to see?
posted by Dumsnill at 4:34 PM on 5/19


I was devastated, like totally effin' near passing out devastated by Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark, and it's really a weird dort of complement that if LvT says he's going to push the envelop even more, then honestly I don't need to have my head explode watching from Anti-Christ, fuck, I'm a lapsed Catholic and that shit would probably make me have a heart attack and this new movie, what form his hokey jokey irresponsible talk sounds just as terrifying. I guess I'm a big scaredy cat, so what? someday I'll have C-C-c-c-c-courage...
posted by Skygazer at 9:00 PM on May 20, 2011


In other Cannes news: Terrence Malick’s ‘Tree Of Life’ wins best picture at Cannes
posted by homunculus at 9:41 AM on May 23, 2011


noress: "(Come and live with us, through the long danish winter, and you will develop an incredibly dark humor. Drawing Muhamed etc. is a national survival strategy: Laughing into the abyss!)"

Also known as the Whoopi Goldberg's defense of Michael Vick: "If you came from where he comes from, you too would be mutilating animals for fun".
posted by falameufilho at 5:50 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


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