I’m slightly staggered that Von Trier has gotten himself banned from Cannes (What does that actually mean? Is it permanent? Will they ever show his filmsagain, or is it just the man himself that’s unwelcome?) for some comments that might certainly qualify as poor taste, but were pretty obviously not intended seriously. Maybe he’s been hoist by his own petard here, because maybe his success in arthouse circles has, all along, been down to the fact that critics and cineastes didn’t know when he was and wasn’t being serious. I’ve often suspected, or else been 100% certain, that Trier was not sincere at all times in his films. It’s been entirely clear that he’s been joking much of the time in his personal statements. But maybe the Cannes organisers think he means everything he says, all the time, completely literally. If not, it’s a bit worrying that they’ve banned him for facetiously calling himself a Nazi: where do you draw the line about what jokes are acceptable to make, and what is the appropriate punishment for making an unsuccessful joke?
Let’s be clear: this wasn’t a drunken Mel Gibson or John Galiano tirade, directed at and intended to hurt specific people. If anything, Trier was insulting himself. He did call Israel a pain in the ass, which is vague but doesn’t seem too severe for a nation whose military are not only routinely slaughtering Palestinian civilians but who may even be targeting children. This was a mildly bad-taste riff intended to provoke a few laughs — not that different from THE KINGDOM or ANTICHRIST, i’d have thought.
It’s political correctness and Lars Von Trier gone mad.