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Cinema

Lars von Trier no longer persona non grata at Cannes Film Festival

Danish director, banished in 2011 for saying at a festival press conference he ‘understands Hitler’ and describing himself as a Nazi, will be back on the Corniche with his film The House That Jack Built playing out of competition

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 1:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 1:32pm

Seven years after being banned by the Cannes Film Festival for jokingly calling himself a Nazi, Danish director Lars von Trier has been invited back to the French festival.

Von Trier was declared “persona non grata” by Cannes after expressing sympathy for Adolf Hitler in a 2011 press conference for his film Melancholia. But Cannes organisers on Thursday announced that von Trier’s The House That Jack Built will play out of competition at next month’s festival. The film stars Matt Dillon as a serial killer.

Von Trier has regularly been a figure of controversy in Cannes and elsewhere. In October, Icelandic singer Bjork said he sexually harassed her during the making of 2000’s Dancer in the Dark, which won Cannes’ Palme d’Or. Von Trier has denied the allegation.

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The festival’s director, Thierry Fremaux, had already signalled that it might rehabilitate von Trier.

The Danish director apologised shortly after his comments in 2011, calling them “completely stupid”. In response to a question about his heritage, von Trier said that he learned that he had German roots as well as Jewish. Von Trier said he “understands Hitler” and “I am a Nazi”.

Cannes organisers also said that Terry Gilliam’s famously delayed, famously unlucky The Man Who Killed Don Quixote would close the festival. The film, which stars Adam Driver and Stellan Skarsgard, has taken Gilliam two decades to make because of endless production problems, funding issues and legal woes.

The festival also announced several more additions to its prestigious competition line-up: The Wild Pear, from Turkish director and previous Palme winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan; Knife + Heart, by French filmmaker Yann Gonzalez; and The Little One, by Kazakh filmmaker Sergei Dvortsevoy.

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That brings the competition slate to 21 titles, three of which are directed by women. Cannes has in recent years been criticised for not selecting more films by woman filmmakers.

The 71st annual Cannes Film Festival runs from May 8-19.