Docs

Von Trier receives Cannes ban

Following controversial remarks made during a press conference to promote his latest feature at the Cannes International Film Festival, the co-director of the upcoming Five Obstructions doc project with Martin Scorsese has been deemed persona non grata at the fest.
May 19, 2011

It’s been quite a week for Lars von Trier.

Following his controversial remarks made during a press conference to promote Melancholia, his latest feature at the Cannes International Film Festival, the co-director of the upcoming Five Obstructions doc project with Martin Scorsese has been deemed persona non grata at the fest.

During the press conference, the controversial director made reference to being a Nazi and to “understanding Hitler,” much to the shock of his film’s stars Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Some eyewitness reports pegged the comments as attempts at humor, and while Von Trier subsequently apologized, it wasn’t sufficient to avert today’s action.

Festival organizers issued the following statement today: “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.”

Melancholia is currently in competition at Cannes and is still eligible for the Palme d’Or, but if it wins, Von Trier will not be permitted to accept the award on site. He is effectively banned from the remainder of events at the fest, which wraps on Sunday. Variety has┬áreported that a festival spokesperson says the ban may not be permanent.

Besides the press conference and its fallout, the director had an eventful Cannes, with the news of the upcoming remake of his Five Obstructions doc, this time with Martin Scorsese, announced during the fest. Also, it was announced yesterday that Magnolia Pictures in the U.S. had pre-bought North American rights for the film, to be coproduced by Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions and Von Trier’s documentary production division, Zentropa Real. Madman Entertainment has also pre-bought the film for Australia and New Zealand.

The upcoming film, The Five Obstructions: Scorsese vs. Trier, is expected to wrap in 2013. TrustNordisk is handling the film’s foreign sales.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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