I posted a piece over at Toro Magazine today about Lars von Trier’s Cannes stir. There are a lot of moving parts surrounding the situation that erupted over his poor-taste comments at the Melancholia press conference. Basically, I don’t think he’s an anti-Semite or a Nazi and the Cannes board decided to make an example of him. What’s weird is they don’t tend to make examples of other criminals and malcontents. A joke gone awry turned into a mess, and fast.
Lars von Trier has long been known as a prankster and provocateur. His films are bombastic elegies on the erosion of humanity. Even as he brings the rest of us down (as in Dancer in the Dark, the most depressing musical you’ll ever see) he never loses his sharp wit. He courts controversy like some kind of cinematic jester. If it weren’t for his mastery of the form and obvious brilliance as an artist, perhaps we wouldn’t stand for it. So here he comes to Cannes and, in a tongue in cheek riff, says he’s a Nazi. The French won’t have it. But what will the French have?