Lars Von Trier managed in the span of about 48 hours to transform from that random independent director that a few people have heard good things about into that weird director who made awkward jokes about being a Nazi. And now the Cannes Film Festival has decided to make the worst interview meltdown since the last time Palin couldn’t name a newspaper into even more news by banning Von Trier from their film festival.
Says Cannes’ website:
The Festival de Cannes provides artists from around the world with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation. The Festival’s Board of Directors, which held an extraordinary meeting this Thursday 19 May 2011, profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars Von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the Festival. The Board of Directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars Von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately.
Yes, they actually managed to use the phrase “defend freedom of expression” at the end of the sentence before they called his comments “unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity.” But hey, they didn’t mind Mel Gibson showing up a couple days ago, and they’re still letting Von Trier’s film Melancholia air at their festival.
I think though that it is very easy to point out the hypocrisy, but that there is a kernel of something that actually makes intellectual sense here. Von Trier isn’t a Nazi, he’s just a moron. I don’t believe that if Von Trier had actually announced he was a Nazi that Cannes would have banned him. His offense was being so patently incapable of conveying ideas, that a bad joke became an incoherent rambling disgrace. Also in that interview he had this nugget, arguing that he was going to make a hardcore pornographic film with Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg:
Now she wants more. That’s how women are, and Charlotte is behind this. They want a really, really, really hardcore film this time, and I’m doing my best,” von Trier said, as Dunst and Gainsbourg chuckled uncomfortably beside him
Von Trier isn’t banned because Cannes didn’t like the ideas he was expressing but because he is an inarticulate jabbering mess. Supporting freedom of expression doesn’t mean you have to give a stage to the drooling guy mumbling to himself. It’s not censorship to have standards.