Controversial Danish director Lars Von Trier apologized Wednesday for saying he was a Nazi, assuring people that despite his earlier comments, he was not "anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way."
Earlier Wednesday, he apparently felt comfortable enough with the crowd at Cannes to admit he sympathizes with Hitler and to refer to himself as a Nazi—albeit one who loves Jewish people.
Promoting his new film about the end of the world, “Melancholia,” at the festival, Von Trier told the crowd of international press from around the world at the Cannes press conference that he originally believed himself to be Jewish before finding out otherwise.
“I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out I was really a Nazi which also gave me some pleasure. What can I say, I understand Hitler. I think he did his wrong things…but I understand the man. He’s not what you would call a good guy but I understand him, I sympathize with him.”
Von Trier tried to back off his statements when the crowd grew obviously uncomfortable.
“I’m not against the Jews. I am of course very much for the Jews. How can I get out of this sentence, ok I’m a Nazi,” the director said.
Von Trier didn’t let the subject drop. When a reporter asked him if he would be producing a Hollywood blockbuster sometime soon he responded with another off-color remark about the Nazi extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust..
“We Nazis have a tendency to try to do things on a greater scale, maybe I could do ‘The Final Solution,’” Von Trier said, attempting a joke.
No one else on the panel, which included actress Kirsten Dunst, Stellan Skarsgård and John Hurt laughed.
"If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize," he said in an email sent to AFP by Meta Louise Foldager, a producer of "Melancholia".
"I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi."