Von Trier Clams Up After Visit from New Zealand's Thought Police

You’ve heard the last from director Lars von Trier – at least outside of what he has to say on the big screen.

TheWrap.com reports von Trier, the combustible filmmaker behind “Dogville,” “Antichrist” and the upcoming “Melancholia,” released a statement detailing an encounter with New Zealand police regarding his infamous Nazi comments back in May at the Cannes Film Festival. At the time, he said he was a Nazi and “understood” Hitler, although he later claimed he was speaking in jest.

He’s not laughing at the latest fallout from those comments.


“Today at 2 p.m. I was questioned by the Police of North Zealand in connection with charges made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes,” von Trier’s statement reads. “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.”

No one will ever accuse von Trier of being subtle on screen or off. And his Cannes comments were absurd, to say the least. But it’s a bit chilling that an ill-advised rant during a film press conference can lead to a police investigation.

It would be just as unsettling if Hank Williams Jr. got a visit from the police for awkwardly comparing President Barack Obama to Hitler. Or, if the makers of “Death of a President,” which detailed a fictional assassination of President George W. Bush, had to worry about the Secret Service rapping on their door.

Common sense should tell people to invoke Hitler with extreme caution. But when they cast common sense aside and do it anyway they deserve public ridicule – and nothing else.

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