Date: 20th May 2011

Lars Von Trier 'accepts' Cannes ban

Danish director Lars Von Trier has accepted his ban from the Cannes Film Festival, following his claims that he sympathised with Adolf Hitler.

Speaking on Thursday, one of the producers of his film Melancholia said he "accepts whatever the festival directors want to do to punish him".

"It's up to the festival to decide what is good for the festival," Meta Foldager told the AFP agency.

In a statement, organisers said the film-maker was now "persona non grata".

The director stunned onlookers on Wednesday by stating, during a press conference, that while he was "not against Jews... Israel is a pain in the ass".

His off-colour remarks, purportedly made in jest, prompted a swift rebuke from organisers and Von Trier apologised the same day.

"I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi," he said in a statement.

The festival's decision to ban the director came after Wednesday's premiere of Von Trier's Melancholia, which remains in competition at this year's event.

The decision was supported by French culture minister Frederic Mitterrand who told reporters in Brussels that "there is a major difference between a film that was chosen in a calm atmosphere and a director who clearly blew a fuse".

He added Von Trier's remarks "did not have a place in the festival, or anywhere else for that matter".

Organisers said Cannes' board of directors had held "an extraordinary meeting" at which Von Trier was declared "a persona non grata... With effect immediately".

The director's comments, they said, were "unacceptable, intolerable and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the festival".

Source: Press Release