According to a statement from Lars Von Trier, Von Trier was questioned by police in Denmark “in connection with charges made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes.”
Presumably, the supposed charges stem from comments Von Trier made that got him banned from the Cannes Film Festival. The lesson here being that if you make a bad joke that could loosely be construed as pro-Hitler, the country that actually let Hitler run things for five years is going to be pissed about it.
“Today at 2 p.m. 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 prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes,” he wrote in a statement.
“Due to these serious accusations I have realized 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,” the Melancholia filmmaker continued. |THR|
Von Trier went on to say, “I haff realized za error uff mein vays. For eenstance, ven I see pregnant Jewish women on za schtreet, I vill no longa say to zem, ‘Achtung, Fraulein, I zee you haff a Jew een za oven!’ …Hallo? Hallo? Ist zeess sing on? Oh how can I get out of zeess sentence… Kirsten, I don’t seenk zeess mic ist vorking.”
On a serious note, here’s video and a partial transcript of what Von Trier said that got him banned from the festival:
“For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew,” he began, “then I met (Danish and Jewish director) Susanne Bier and I wasn’t so happy. But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family were German. And that also gave me some pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler…I sympathize with him a bit.”
Von Trier qualified that “I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier” before digging himself deeper. “In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain in the ass but…”
That’s what he said. He said he sympathized with Hitler, and tried to clarify (badly).
Is it really so impossible to imagine someone sympathizing with a murderer or a dictator or a tyrant without him necessarily sympathizing with the murderous or tyrranical parts? Hey, maybe Saddam Hussein liked dogs. But go ahead, let’s all pretend Hitler came from some alien species to make ourselves feel better. To just hear what Von Trier said and shout “HITLER SYMPATHIZER! GET HIM!” is exactly the same kind of intellectual f*cking laziness that gave rise to the Nazis in the first place. They already banned him from a film festival, which is understandable, as film festival organizers would make perfect Nazis. But now you want to throw him in jail? Over a joke he made? To prove how against fascism you are? Does anyone else not see the utter hypocrisy of that? That’s great, maybe we should burn all his scripts and then go over to his studio and break all the windows. Jesus, I feel like I’m huffing gas over here.
…Okay, poor choice of words. I guess what I’m saying is, do your worst, France. I can make these Holocaust jokes all day.