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Danish Film Institute on von Trier: 'Great artists make stupid remarks'

UK distributor stands by release; Susanna Bier’s Italian co-producer shows solidarity with her.

In a statement to the Danish press agency Ritzau, Henrik Bo Nielsen, CEO of the Danish Film Institute, called Lars von Trier’s statements about being a Nazi at the press conference in Cannes “offensive” and “foolish”.

“I am pleased that he has made an apology. And now it’s up to von Trier to find his own way out of the predicament that he has put himself in,” Henrik Bo Nielsen told Ritzau.

Henrik Bo Nielsen emphasizes that Lars von Trier’s remarks about nazism and the following controversy won’t have any effect on DFI’s future decisions on whether or not to grant support to films by von Trier, however grave the current situation may seem. “It’s my conviction that the film industry is populated by professionals who are quite capable of distinguishing between what a director says and the quality of his projects,” Henrik Bo Nielsen adds.
“It is unfortunate that great cinema should drown in sucha farce and controversy totally irrelevant to the film itself. But there’s nothing new in the fact that great artists make stupid remarks.”

Zentropa and the film’s sales company TrustNordisk have not responded to Screen’s repeated request for comments.

Meanwhile, the film’s UK distributor Artificial Eye issued this statement to Screen: “On Melancholia our release plans remain unchanged at the moment, although we are always reviewing the market to ensure we have the best possible date for our films, but so far we don’t anticipate any issues for our release.”

In Italy, Teodora film which is co producing Susanne Bier’s Italy-set film (with Zentropa) has expressed solidarity with Bier who was slated by Lars Von Trier in Cannes [Von Trier had said: “For a long time I thought I was a Jew, and I was happy to be a Jew. Then I met Susanne Bier, and I wasn’t so happy.”], has said they will never distribute a von Trier film in Italy (for the record, they have never distributed his films in the past).

Teodora’s Cesare Petrillo said: “The statement of Von Trier, even if he tries to say it was a joke, is absolutely unacceptable. As a distributor and co producer of Susanne Bier, I am offended and express my solidarity with her and take on the solemn promise to not ever distribute a von Trier film in Italy.” 

 

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