Director blames Danes' 'small mentality' for Hitler remarks

20th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn blamed small-mindedness in his homeland on Friday for remarks about Hitler that got compatriot Lars von Trier barred from the Cannes film festival.

"Oh, those Danes," sighed the 40-year-old director of "Drive", in competition for the Palme d'Or along with von Trier's "Melancholia", when asked by reporters about the furore that swept the festival this week.

"I think what Lars said was very unacceptable," he continued. "It just shows that in Denmark, we have a very small mentality and sometimes forget that there are other people around us... I was very repulsed by what he said."

Winding Refn, who spent his childhood in the United States, is the son of Anders Refn, the editor of "Breaking the Waves" which won von Trier the runner-up Grand Prix award at Cannes in 1996.

Von Trier, 55, who is notorious for black humour, political incorrectness and a fear of flying that has largely kept him in Europe, said in reply to a reporter's question Wednesday that he sympathised "a little bit" with Hitler.

"I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out that I was really a Nazi," he added, referring to his mother's deathbed revelation that his biological father was actually a German.

He later apologised, but on Thursday the festival declared him "persona non grata" -- in effect, ordering him to stay out of Cannes -- while keeping "Melancholia" in the running for the Palme d'Or to be awarded on Sunday.

© 2011 AFP

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