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UPDATE: Melancholia still in competition even as Cannes board declares von Trier 'persona non grata'

The Cannes board of directors has released a statement declaring Melancholia director Lars von Trier as a “persona non grata” at the Cannes Film Festival, following his “Nazi” comments at a press conference yesterday.

But the Cannes press office confirms to Screen this afternoon that the film is still in Competition and eligible for the Palme d’Or.

Today’s statement read:

“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.”

At the Melancholia press conference in Cannes yesterday, von Trier called himself a Nazi and that he “sympathised with Hitler a little bit.”

He later issued a statement apologising for his comments. (See that story here).

Readers' comments (6)

  • Oh, come on. You only have to watch the press conference to see this was a confused and poor joke, riffing off a directly leading question designed to get a controversial response, that got out of hand.

    It's sad to see the Cannes board getting caught up in the ludicrous histrionics of internet 'journalists' and rhetoric.

    It's obvious it was a joke. A poor and appalling joke maybe, but this is a very American response from the Cannes board and they should be ashamed of themselves for helping to continue to blow this all out of proportion.

    Give me a break Cannes!

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  • Wait so 'convicted of statutory rape' Roman Polanski is always a welcome figure in Cannes; and 'pleaded no contest to domestic battery (quite apart from his various - very much not joking - racist, sexist and anti-semitic comments)' Mel Gibson was welcomed for The Beaver this week in Cannes; but 'made an idiotic joke that got out of hand' Lars von Trier is now banned from Cannes for good!

    Ludicrous. Hypocritical. Nonsense.

    I actually don't have a problem with Cannes welcoming Polanski and Gibson - i am looking forward to seeing The Beaver - but this is such hypocrisy it needs addressing.

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  • I agree with the honourable Mr Mitchell and our good friend Anonymous that the festival's reaction is over the top and hypocritical, but feel it is important to stress that von Trier's comments, albeit in jest, were totally inappropriate and hugely offensive, and he should have had the sense to stop himself mid sentence realising it wasn't very funny, and apologise on the spot, rather than ramble on. It was obvious that he actually believed some of what he was saying, despite trying to hide under the veil of humour.

    Using offensive language in front of the cameras has merely lowered him to the level of an infamous professional footballer.

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  • Absolutely agree his comments were inappropriate and offensive and showed extraordinary poor judgement and taste. My criticism of the festival's hypocrisy still stands.

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  • it's rampant political correctness that has no relation either to the memory of Holocaust victims, nor to antifascism. for the stupid question of the journalist, why Trier was inspired by the Nazi art, this journalist should be thrown out of the Cannes for professionalnouyu unfitness. Similar solutions directorate of the festival devalue serious attitude to the problem of Nazism and to be killed during WWII

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  • Lars Von Trier has always set himself up as the bad boy of Cannes. This is no different. I watched the press conference and I believe that he just got bored with the dumb questions - questions that should have been of a higher standard - and he decided to spice things up a bit with a few neatly tossed hand grenades. And it did the trick. If you were a journo and you were reviewing your transcripted notes from that press conference, what would you lead with? "Lars Von Trier says he's a Nazi." That's the only decent copy came out of that otherwise boring press conference. Give the guy a break Cannes Board, please.

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