CANNES, France—Following a press conference at Cannes Wednesday during which Lars von Trier, flanked by Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, was supposed to talk about his film Melancholia but instead took a detour into weirdness to talk at length about porn, Nazis and other good stuff, festival organizers said Thursday that the Danish director and screenwriter is persona non grata at the event, effect immediately. He is not to come within 100 meters of the Palais building.
It was the Nazi comments—“So, I, what can I say? I understand Hitler … He is not what we could call a good guy, but yeah, I understand much about him and I sympathize with him”—and not the porn that got him booted, but von Trier made enough controversial comments during the press conference to actually qualify for a top ten list. Among them, he spoke about his next project that he said will include several hours of hardcore porn and no dialogue.
“I would like to talk about my next film, which is, Kirsten insisted, going to be a porn film,” Vulture quoted him as saying. “And we made this famous beaver shot [Admittedly, he could have said "River." We couldn't tell because of the accent] in the film where Kirsten was naked, and I said, 'It doesn’t really fit the film,' and she said, 'I feel strongly for this.' And I said, 'Yeah, it’s pretty good.' And now she wants more. And Charlotte is behind this. They want a really, really hard-core film. And I’m doing my best. I said, 'But then let’s make a lot of talking in between. There should be a lot of dialogue.' And they said, 'We don’t give a shit about dialogue. We just want to have a lot of very, very unpleasant sex.' And that’s what I’m working on. And it’s going to be about three or four hours long, and the only reason for that is that this press conference will be a little later."
But then he also said he’d like to do a blockbuster. “Yes, we Nazis like to do things on a big scale. Maybe I could do the Final Solution.”
But he also said that the conflict between the Eastern and Western church is a theme he wants to explore, and then combined the ideas. “The fact that planet Earth is being destroyed is not so alarming because we’re all going to die at some point,” he said, in the non sequitur of the day. “But the Holy Spirit side is something I’m going to explore in the porn film. This is because of the whole discussion about the Eastern church and orgasms which are very important.”
The subject of sex even crept into his comments about his Melancholia cinematographer, Manuel Alberto Claro. "He was very eager to do what I wanted and that is always very nice,” said Von Trier. “The more important thing he said to me, during a take, suddenly out of nowhere, he said to me, 'Don’t do this thing that mainly middle-aged or older directors do, that the women get younger and younger and more and more naked.' And I said, 'Don’t say that to me.' So now, I tell you that they’re going to be naked and extremely young. So in that way he helped me a lot."
Von Trier has spent the next day and a half trying to walk back his Nazi comments, to no avail. Despite the fact that everyone knows he cannot control himself verbally, these latest remarks have outraged enough people to make his continued appearance at the festival uncomfortable even for von Trier, even without the rescinded invitation. In an interview Thursday, the director said all he wants to do is go home.
"I'm not sure I'll leave Denmark again," he added, providing a final porn reference. "I want to be surrounded by porn people who love me for what I am, who say, 'Where do you want the erection, where do you want the penetration.' Where it's not complicated. There wouldn't be a porn star running out there, saying, 'Lars said this or Lars said that.'" (A not so veiled reference to Charlie Sheen?!)
We remain utterly clueless as to whether any of this has any relation to reality, but according to Melancholia co-star Stellan Skarsgård, via Indiewire.com, von Trier meant it when he said his next project is porn, but that Dunst would not be involved. (Damn!) The title of the project may very well be The Nymphomaniac.
Photo: A scene from Lars von Trier's Antichrist (2009), starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, which contained sexually explicit scenes (yes, with stand-ins).