Danish director says "shocked" by Cannes expulsion

Thu May 19, 2011 2:51pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES (Reuters) - Danish director Lars Von Trier said Thursday he was "shocked" at being expelled from this year's Cannes film festival for joking during a press conference that he was a Nazi who sympathized with Hitler.

Speaking by telephone from a hotel just outside the French Riviera resort, the 55-year-old maverick said there had been a "misunderstanding," although he had conducted himself in a "stupid and very unprofessional way.

"I'm beyond the point of being disappointed, I am just very tired of the whole thing," the famously provocative film maker told Reuters on a day when Cannes' unprecedented decision dominated the world's biggest cinema showcase.

"It has come as quite a shock for me, I must say."

At Wednesday's bizarre press conference, Von Trier, in Cannes to talk about his movie "Melancholia," launched into a rambling monologue about his Jewish/German heritage before making the remarks that forced his exit.

He jokingly said he was a Nazi, sympathized with Hitler "a little bit," deemed Israel a "pain in the ass" and muttered the phrase "the final solution for journalists."

In the interview Thursday, conducted in English, he said he had lost sight of the fact that he was talking to a huge audience through the international media.

"I think that I'm talking to my friends back at the cafe and suddenly I find out, of course, that I'm talking to the world which are not amused."   Continued...

<p>Director Lars Von Trier (L) and cast member Kirsten Dunst attend a news conference for the film "Melancholia", in competition at the 64th Cannes Film Festival, May 18, 2011. REUTERS/Yves Herman</p>