Lars von Trier's latest shock statement: a vow to remain silent

 

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The Independent Culture

In the latest in a bizarre series of proclamations which have seen him banned from the Cannes Film Festival for claiming to be a Nazi, Danish director Lars von Trier, after being questioned by police in his homeland, has said he will never give another interview or speak in public again.

The controversial director, who prompted a global media storm during May's Cannes Film Festival after he said that he could "understand Hitler", issued a statement yesterday evening saying he had been interviewed by police in North Zealand, a region of Denmark, with regards to his comments in France. He said the police interview related to a "possible violation" of French law, which prevents the justification of war crimes. He said the charges are being pursued by a French court.

The director said in his statement: "Today at 2pm 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 a prohibition in French law against justification of war crime.

"Due to these serious accusations I have realised 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."

Von Trier's controversial Cannes outburst, during a promotional appearance for Melancholia, which was released in the UK last week, included stating that he could "sympathise with Hitler". He also described a desire to direct hard-core pornography, to the clear discomfort of Kirsten Dunst, who was alongside him when he made the remarks.

"I think he did some wrong things, but I can see him sitting in his bunker," Von Trier said of the Nazi leader. "He is not what I would call a good guy, but yeah, I understand much about him and sympathise with him." The festival later banned Von Trier from entering its official buildings and from its gala awards ceremony.

Von Trier's career has been characterised by provocative themes and outspoken remarks. His 1998 film The Idiots contained explicit sexual imagery. His targets in the press have included George W Bush and the French government, which he has also branded "Nazis". Von Trier's spokeswoman refused to comment further.

Von Trier in his own words

2011 Cannes Film Festival: "We Nazis like to do things on a big scale. Maybe I could do the Final Solution."

2009 Cannes Film Festival: "I am the best film director in the world."

2005 Interview with Die Zeit: "I think [Bush] is in love with Condoleezza Rice... he's dreaming of being whipped by her."

2003 Jan Lumholdt's Lars von Trier: Interviews: "I feel like someone coming back from Vietnam... I'm sure later on I'll start killing people in a square somewhere, but right now, I just feel happy to be alive."

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