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by Nigel M Smith
October 5, 2011 4:40 AM
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Lars von Trier Questioned by Police; Swears Off All Interviews and Public Statements

Lars von Trier and Kirsten Dunst in Cannes. Photo by Brian Brooks.

It's come to this. Lars von Trier has declared that he will no longer do interviews or release public statements from this day forward.

The reason? According to the director, he was questioned by police in Denmark about charges brought against him in France after his now-infamous Nazi comments at the "Melancholia" press conference in Cannes.

Here's von Trier's reasoning in his own words:

Today at 2 pm I was questioned by the Police of North Zealand in connection with charges made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes. The investigation covers comments made during the press conference in Cannes in May 2011. Due to these serious accusations I have realized that I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally and I have therefore decided from this day forth to refrain from all public statements and interviews.

Lars von Trier

Avedøre, 5. October 2011

If von Trier indeed sticks to this statement, it marks a sad end to the Cannes debacle, where he was declared Persona Non Grata by the event's Board of Directors.

So we leave you with this, von Trier's last interview with iW published shortly after he made the damaging comments.

"I was extremely stupid, but on the other hand we should worry about not being able to talk about certain things," he said to iW. "At the press conference, I was in a good mood. It that room, with so many people and TV cameras, it was like a big blank audience; I was talking to the world." For more go here.

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10 Comments

  • twinspark | October 6, 2011 3:19 AMReply

    Will he extend it to not make any more films too - that way we can all be lucky. Overrated and dull filmmaker

  • Damian | October 5, 2011 9:04 AMReply

    I'd like to believe von Trier but my luck hasn't
    been good lately.

  • PR_GMR | October 5, 2011 8:13 AMReply

    Max, it was a joke. May not have been funny to you, but it was just that--a joke. This whole thing is ridiculous. He's indeed one of the most gifted filmmakers working today. I'll be there for his next film. Hopefully, he'll get over the heat this unfortunate Cannes Film comment fiasco caused and he'll give interviews again. I saw one great, funny interview with him at FantasticFest in Austin before they screened 'Melancholia' (the film I very much liked!)

  • DHW | October 5, 2011 8:12 AMReply

    @rabbi: Well put. Legislating "taste" in art is a very slippery slope.

  • rabbi | October 5, 2011 7:27 AMReply

    Max, have you read the full story in context? Pretty much everyone, including Lars, agrees that it was in bad taste but if telling a joke in bad taste is enough to get one arrested, well you can see the irony in that, I hope.

  • Max | October 5, 2011 7:13 AMReply

    It may be a “joke” to you Anna, but I aint laughing.

  • bugaloo | October 5, 2011 7:04 AMReply

    This is just another news-making statement from von Trier. Another film from now he'll forget he said he'd forever "refrain from all public statements and interviews" and be blabbing again freely. The guy is a compulsive provocateur--no way is he going to be able to keep his trap shut in the future.

  • Anna | October 5, 2011 6:54 AMReply

    For ''''s sake, people, it was a JOKE! Calm down...The police in Denmark could focus questioning the Danish youth fascist movement since they've become so preoccupied with the crimes of war. Perspective is missing indeed.

  • Max | October 5, 2011 6:50 AMReply

    No matter where you from you should have some respect for millions of people slaughtered by the Nazis. A sad and entirely surprising comment.

  • rabbi | October 5, 2011 6:17 AMReply

    A sad, yet not entirely surprising turn of events.

    One of the things we Americans often take for granted is that even with the growing corporate (governmental) control of our public airwaves, we still have a higher standard of personal free speech in the US than many other so-called free societies. Yes, our commercial "over the air" TV and radio is governed by the FCC and we're very much hung up on sexuality and gender but our public utterances are still left virtually unchecked.

    This comes at a price, of course. In many countries around the world some of the things said by several members of congress and other public officials may well have been prosecuted as sedition, treason or other such crimes but here we take the bad with the good and I am thankful every day for the 1st amendment.

    While I certainly understand that the countries in Europe that were occupied by (and/or collaborated with) the Nazis might be sensitive to the issue, it's clear that some perspective is needed.

    Personally, I think the Cannes Film Festival owes Lars von Trier (and the rest of us) an apology.