Lars von Trier banned from Cannes

Update: Lars von Trier has responded to the ban. Head to the bottom of the story for his comments.

Apology not accepted. That’s the message coming from Cannes following Lars von Trier’s hilariously offensive press conference following the screening of his film Melancholia, in which he jokingly claimed to be a Nazi.

Although von Trier issued a mea culpa and reiterated that his comments were made in jest – he has a weird sense of humour, but we already knew that – the Cannes Film Festival organisers have declared him “persona non grata”, and banned him from the remainder of this year’s festival.

“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.”

His film remains in competition for the Palme d’Or, but von Trier will not be allowed to attend the awards ceremony, even if his film takes the top prize. It is unknown if he will be allowed back for future festivals.

This follows the cancellation of the Melancholia party. Damn, because that would have been a riot.

In writing, out-of-context comments like “I’m a Nazi” and “I understand Hitler” can seem pretty inflammatory. Even in context they’re pretty ridiculous. But anyone who watched the press conference can see that the (admittedly tasteless) statements were not to be taken seriously. Besides, who is really surprised the enfant terrible of the Cannes Film Festival is acting like a terrible enfant?

UPDATE: von Trier spoke to journalists following the announcement, where he reiterated his apology:

“”I’m known for provocations, but I like provocations when they have a purpose. And this had no purpose whatsoever. Because I’m not Mel Gibson. I’m definitely not Mel Gibson.”

He then invited journalists to beat him as punishment, but added the following caveat: “I must warn you that I might enjoy it.” More crazy comments here.

Discuss: I’d like to direct you to the fable of The Scorpion and the Frog – and no, that’s not one of the films playing the festival.

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