Film-maker Lars von Trier 'accepts' Cannes ban: producer

19th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Danish film-maker Lars von Trier accepts the decision of the Cannes film festival to ban him over remarks he made about Adolf Hitler, one of his producers told AFP on Thursday.

"Lars accepts whatever the festival directors want to do to punish him," said Meta Foldager, one of the producers of "Melancholia", which remains in competition for the Palme d'Or.

"He fully accepts that... It's up to the festival to decide what is good for the festival," she said, adding that von Trier was "fine and doing his work" promoting the film.

Organisers of the world's biggest film festival declared von Trier "persona non grata" a day after the auteur, at a press conference where he was asked about his German heritage, said he "sympathised" with Hitler.

But they kept his apocalyptic drama "Melancholia" in competition for the Palme d'Or top prize.

"I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out that I was really a Nazi," said von Trier -- who has a reputation for provocation, black humour and political incorrectness -- with a cheerful smile Wednesday.

"I understand Hitler. I think he did some wrong things, yes absolutely, but I can see him sitting in his bunker in the end."

Later in the day, von Trier -- one of Europe's foremost directors -- issued a statement of apology, adding: "I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi."

Speaking to AFP by telephone, Foldager said she thought everyone at the press conference would have recognised that von Trier's comment were tongue in cheek.

"I don't think anyone left the room thinking that what he had said would lead to Lars being declared persona non grata," she said. "He was trying to be funny and it didn't work."

Von Trier knew that the festival board was meeting on Thursday morning to determine how to react to his remarks, she said.

When its decision was taken, she got a phone call from festival director Thierry Fremaux, then informed the film-maker, who has been staying in nearby Mougins in a camper van in which he travels between festivals.

"He's fine and doing his work," she said, sticking to a schedule of press interviews to promote "Melancholia", a philosophical disaster movie about the end of the world starring Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

© 2011 AFP

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