Lars von Trier has decided to take a vow of silence after being charged with violating a French law against the justification of war crimes.
Von Trier was ejected from the Cannes Film Festival in May after expressing sympathy for Adolf Hitler at a news conference for his film Melancholia. During the conference, Von Trier jokingly called himself a Hitler and Nazi sympathizer. Since then, he has been questioned by the Danish police, and has been charges by prosecutors in Grasse, France.
This Wednesday, the always-controversial director released a brief statement explaining his actions. 'Due to these serious accusations, I have realized that I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally, and I have therefore decided from this day forth to refrain from all public statements and interviews.
I think he [Hitler] did some wrong things, yes, absolutely, said von Trier, noting his German heritage. He's not what you would call a good guy, but I understand much about him, and I sympathize with him a little bit.
The director went on to assert his repugnance for the Holocaust and the Second World War, but quickly made things worse. I am very much for Jews, he said. No, not too much, because Israel is a pain in the ass.
Von Trier's comments ignited shock and outrage from the moment they left his mouth. Kirsten Dunst, the lead in Melancholia who went on to win Cannes' best actress prize for the role, immediately leaned over to Von Trier and whispered Oh my God, this is terrible, The AP reported.
His remarks have greatly angered Jewish groups, but many festival goers said criticism has been unduly harsh on the director, who was apparently mouthing off and was speaking in English, not his first language. Von Trier himself has gone back and forth on his position, issuing an apology and then later retracting it when talking to GQ Magazine.
Peter Aalbaek Jensen, co-founder of von Trier's film company, Zentropa, said he talked with the director Wednesday morning, and he is serious about his wish never to speak to the media again. He has decided today to muzzle himself, Jensen told Fox News. He takes this extremely seriously... He is a self-declared socialist and humanist and speaks up for the little people. It would be absurd if he started to praise them [Nazis].