UPDATE: Lars von Trier apologizes for Nazi comments.
Notorious wallflower Lars von Trier, director of acclaimed indies like 'Dogville,' 'Dancer in the Dark' and 'Antichrist,' did what he does best at the Cannes Film Festival press conference for his latest film, 'Melancholia,' "a beautiful movie about the end of the world" starring Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland and Alexander Skarsgard. And by that we mean he caused a ruckus by saying some pretty ridiculous things.
Von Trier is so well-known for saying controversial things that The Hollywood Reporter compares his press conferences to a "a dark stand-up routine." He took things a step further in Cannes yesterday, however, announcing he was "actually a Nazi" who "understands Hitler ... I sympathize with him a bit." Got that? (Update: Von Trier has issued an apology for his comments.)
And now for some context. Von Trier has a notoriously dark, envelope-pushing European sense of humor that doesn't always translate across the Atlantic. So, while he made Cannes audiences a bit uncomfortable, they laughed "with the sort of chuckle that gets caught in the throat." Others, including Dunst and co-star Charlotte Gainsbourg, were reportedly dumbstruck.
The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, however, is not laughing.