Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier first earned his reputation as the bad boy auteur of the Cannes Film Festival with divisive movies like Antichrist and his 2000 Palme d’Or winner Dancer in the dark.
In recent years, Von Trier fueled his enfant terrible reputation with outrageous press stunts. But the festival’s board of directors was unprepared for his comments at a Wednesday press conference for his contending film Melancholia starring Kirsten Dunst as a bride preparing for her wedding as a planet hurtles through space about to crash into the Earth.
“For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew,” Von Trier said. “Then I met (Danish and Jewish director) Susanne Bier and I wasn’t so happy. But then I found I was actually a Nazi. What can I say? I understand Hitler…I sympathize with him a bit.”
“I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier,” Von Trier added. “In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain in the ass but…”
According to The Guardian, Von Trier later apologized for his remarks, perhaps realizing that his attempts at shock comedy failed miserably. However, that did not stop Cannes authorities from declaring Von Trier “persona non grata” at the festival effective immediately.
A statement from the festival explained their stance: “(the board) 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.”
Melancholia remained in contention for the Palme d’Or but all press engagement for the film were cancelled.
Two officials from The J. Paul Getty Museum crowded into a former Capuchin monastery turned into a small museum in the Sicilian town of Aidone to watch the unveiling of the 7-foot limestone and marble statue of Aphrodite
According to The L.A. Times, the Getty officials helped close the door on the controversial purchase of the statue by the Getty in 1988 for $18 million despite reports that the statue had been looted and stolen from Italy.
“The decision to return this statue to Sicily was a turning point in the history of the Getty’s antiquities collection, one that was fraught with much debate,” said Getty Museum acting director David Bomford. However, in the end, based on scholarly and reasoned research, it was without a doubt the right decision.”
With the statue returned, Sicily’s culture minister hoped the artwork will soon draw more visitors to the Aidone museum and the surrounding community.
Canadian vocalist Rachel Zeffira teamed with Horrors lead singer Faris Badwan for her latest release Cat’s Eyes and Vogue praised the 28-year-old musical artist for blending sixties girl group influences with the operatic arias she’s used to perform as a classical music singer.
“It’s easy to forget sixties girl group music was quite dark,” Zeffira said. “Faris played one song for me called Nightmare, by a band called The Whyte Boots. It’s about a girl who gets killed by a girl gang, and there is a wild range of emotion there that is very operatic.”