Guardian film critic downplays Hitler comments of director Lars von Trier

Here are a few passages from a Feb. 20 review by the Guardian’s  of a new film by Danish director Lars von Trier called ‘Nymphomaniac’:

For the very first time, I think Von Trier has given us a film without any of the tiresome hoax provocation that has always been a part of even his most admired works. heartfelt and even passionate, especially in one image of Joe, utterly alone in a stark landscape, reaching towards a gnarled tree trunk: the part her father had once told her was the “soul” of a tree. That is not to say that the director has gone without any of his old tricksiness. He playfully alludes to his earlier films Breaking the Waves and Antichrist, and is still clearly very prickly about the “Nazi” controversy of two years ago, when he was thrown out of the Cannes film festival for making a Hitler joke at a press conference.

Bradshaw is referring to a press conference in 2011 at the Cannes Film Festival, for the film Melancholia, where Von Trier was asked to expound on a recent interview in which he expressed interest in his German roots.

Here’s a video clip of the press conference with Von Trier and the film’s star Kirsten Dunst. 

Though Von Trier apologized after the row, he later retracted his apology during an interview with GQ.  

Moreover, as you can see in the clip, the director may have attempted a bit of humor towards the end to break the tension, but seemed quite serious when stating that he sympathized with Hitler “a little bit”.  And, the French Police evidently didn’t think it was merely a joke when they investigated Von Trier for a possible violation of French laws against the justification of war crimes.

Finally, this episode may evoke memories for some CiF Watch fans of a previous episode in which a Guardian culture critic downplayed remarks by an artist which were sympathetic to Adolf Hitler.


Enhanced by Zemanta

31 replies »

  1. The loyal members of the Guardian staff would excuse anybody who hate Israel and the Jews. Being a Nazi-sympathizer mustn’t be a blocking stone on the way to a true love.

    • The loyal members of the Guardian staff would excuse anybody who hate Israel and the Jews.

      Don’t be so hysterical. You are trivializing the gravity of the genuine haters and those who excuse them.

            • You know I am no apologist for Nazi sympathizers.

              Now kindly crawl back under your sad little rock of hate.

              • You very much are so. Your filthy apologetics for the Guardian cause Israel to endanger its citizens, Jews and Arabs, whose lives are much more valuable than the pathetic excuse you have for one.

                  • On the contrary, Israel has repeatedly and willingly lowered its defenses, in the form of checkpoints and other measures, due to pressure from others, resulting in the deaths of its citizens. Much of that is fomented by propaganda sheets like Guardian. As apologists for the Guardian both you and Lord Windbag, Pretzelbullcrap are implicit in those deaths.

  2. Who is he directing these comments at? Who is his real intended audience, when he launches into these deeply offensive statements? What is the purpose of making things uncomfortable for those trapped listening to him? Is he on an extended film set still provoking reactions from “actors” in his dreamworld? Ah! It’s all meant to be a joke.

    Von Trier here is a perverse and unstable personality exhibiting at the same time a strong animus towards Jews/Israel. The problem is that the Guardian promotes this perversion allowing it to be OK. Why? Because it shares his animus and vicariously enjoys Trier sympathetic tones about Nazis without having to say it supports them. “I am not saying Hitler was a good guy…”

    • The Guardian “vicariously enjoys Trier sympathetic tones about Nazis without having to say it supports them”??

      More bizarre twaddle.

      • That’s a tad rich coming from as loathesome hypocrite as you are. It’s really a shame that you have no purpose to life except to look for ways to criticize others.

              • This coming from the sanctimonious hypocrite who isn’t even capable of reading the mission statement clearly printed above. You’re not only intellectually challenged and boring, but also sanctimonious and hypocrite. Congratulations. You’ve achieved the quadrifecta. Now go crawl back under your rock like a good little cockroach.

          • Are we to take it that you accept that the Guardian is innocent in all of this or ythat you approve. I am not sure you know what you think.

  3. The Hitler chic of the cultural left as choc strategy for media attention and prove of the courage to break all taboos. And when they have to answer to the public they pretend to play lustfully with meanings and taboos, a sort of lecturing the public and a demonstration of moral superiority which empowers them, and to hold up the freedom of expression, but they certainly condemn the political right or disagreeing leftist as almost nazi-like, calling for their exclusion from the public.
    No wonder that Zizek is a hero of the cultural left though he and others prefer to play lustfully with Stalin and communism.

  4. Look I agree that Trier’s comments are distasteful at best, but I sort of understand the mess he got himself into. I think he genuinely set out just trying to make a light comment about the fact that some of his ancestors were/may have been Nazis, realised that this was probably not the image he wanted to portray and just dug himself deeper and deeper into a hole talking about being “for Jews” etc.

    He felt, having commented on “being a Nazi” at the beginning, (which was, I think, his poorly judged reference to his German background), he needed to qualify the statement and did so in entirely the wrong way by further trying to make jokes about the topic – e.g. on Hitler and Speer.

    I don’t excuse what he said, but I do think this was a terribly ham-fisted attempt at comedy (for which his films are not best known, perhaps this is why) than a genuinely antisemitic rant.

    • You are probably correct saying that his crack wasn’t a serious declaration of being a Nazi and a Hitler-lover but the problem is something else entirely. He is not a hick from a faraway small village in the Faroe islands but an educated artist and as such he’s a public figure with a huge influence on European/Western culture. Europe is the graveyard of six-million murdered European citizens whose only sin was being Jewish or having Jewish ancestors. A public figure especially an artist who is supposed to be blessed with more sensitivity than an average person not to say anything about moral standards should have known better. Anyway being a self declared “I’m not an anti-Semite but an anti-Zionist” makes him exactly the same shit.

      • Peter:

        ” He is not a hick from a faraway small village in the Faroe islands but an educated artist and as such he’s a public figure with a huge influence on European/Western culture.”

        Exactly, and we see more and more of this “fashionable” outbursts and cartoons, see link, because if the Guardian or other public figure broke the “taboo” so can I.

        We all know this is not about taboos, it is about sensitivity and respect.
        You either have it or you don’t.

        We know very well that just like with waves of peodophilia or other types of abuse this is likely going to get worst.

        It’s enough to read the Guardian comment section BTL to see how people feel good about being arses.

        A bit like the Marquis De Sade championed by the masses, where an almost competition is carried out regardless of the topic on who can be more vile both in manners and in the attitude towards either common sense or Israelis / Jews / Zionism / the West.

    • The point is Labernal, he became serious over referring to his dalliance with Nazi thinking. his opening comment is that wanted to be a Jew and found out to his pleasure that he was a Nazi. What is all this guff? Is he on drugs? Well he did repeat this stuff and makes a point in the film he has made through one of the characters. So no on balance. As a lawyer , he doesn’t get away with it and nor did he get away with it as he was banned from Cannes.
      As for the Guardian…

    • Labernal

      He didn’t joke about Speer. He genuinely likes him. Y’know the cuddly, reasonable face of the Third Reich, who, having kept the German war economy functioning for at least a year longer that it would have done without his organisational skills, was able to wiggle his way out of the hangman’s noose by being the only one at Nuremberg to say he was sorry. As a result of Speer, half a million Hungarian Jews went up in smoke because of his ability to keep Germany on a ‘total war’ footing.

      • Just to clarify – I do not justify Speer or his record at all, one jot. I have no idea, beyond this curdlingly embarrassing press conference, what Trier’s view of Speer is. I stand by the opinion though that you can recognise a person’s abilities or talents even if you despise them overall.

        For example, it is hardly controversial to say that Hitler was a great orator. He was an evil turd, but nevertheless a great orator. Does that make me a Nazi sympathiser? I don’t think so.

    • The nose, the curly-haired beard whiskers … Oh dear, oh dear …

      Published by a right-of-centre Bavarian paper, btw.