Danish auteur Lars von Trier has made a career out of being provocative, directing such controversial films as "Dogville," "Dancer in the Dark" and "Antichrist." Now he's making headlines again, but this time it's not for anything in his new movie "Melancholia" -- it's for what he said during the press conference to promote it.
As detailed by The Hollywood Reporter, von Trier met with media at the Cannes Film Festival to discuss "Melancholia" and ended up becoming the story himself thanks to an extended joke about Hitler that ended with the director declaring himself to be a Nazi.
The ill-advised attempt at humor began when von Trier was asked about his German heritage.
"For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew," he said in response, "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 continued, saying, "I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier. In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain in the ass but…"
After a pause, the director finished by saying, "Now how can I get out of this sentence? Ok. I’m a Nazi."
Later in the press conference, von Trier returned to the joke by answering a question about the possibility of doing a larger scale movie with the comment that, "We Nazis like to do things on a big scale. Maybe I could do 'The Final Solution.'"
"Melancholia" stars Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg as sisters at a wedding that is interrupted when a rogue planet crashes into Earth.