MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Cannes’nt Take The Heat? Get Out Of The Film Festival Business

I’m getting ready to get on a plane to go to a festival that has been more influential on French and other world cinema being distributed in the United States than Cannes (Seattle International Film Festival), so for now, this is a placeholder for a more considered piece, but…

I have to say, it makes me kind of sick to my stomach to think that Lars von Trier, stumbling over his own ideas about being Jewish and German, basically saying stuff that has been said by high school upperclassmen and college freshmen for decades, and having it all reduced down to “I Heart Hitler!,” leading to Cannes’ board meeting and saying that the filmmaker is now “persona non grata.”


As inarticulate as his comments and the tortured path they rambled down were, he never said anything more generous to Hilter than, “I think I understand the man.” And he “liked” Albert Speer, which American TV networks have done, via mini-series, in the past.

I have been known to say of my origins that I am a sand monkey… that all of us brown guys are… Arabs and Israelis and Persians, etc.. all from the same sand next to the same blue water… and perhaps it is that closeness that causes “us” to fight so fiercely, to the point of our own destruction. I am adopted. And I am told that I am 3/4 Jewish by way of my birth parents. But who knows what the details of the genetic history really is.

And the point? Who cares? How petty is it to hate based on GPS?

The word “Nazi” was used, in the context of the press conference segment I posted last night, by von Trier as a provocative shorthand about himself. And then it snowballed into snippets that could be taken out of context. But what i heard was that he was thinking about the German mindset and the Jewish mindset and how he is caught between the two, part of the two, and understands both… even Hitler.

We’re back to the sane idiotic PC fascism that took hold when Roger Ebert tweeted that he would “rather be called a nigger than a slave.” This is a sentiment you could disagree with. (I don’t.) But instead of having a conversation about a provocative and interesting idea, we had a discussion about whether American’s Film Critic was doing damage with a racial slur. (The only real damage done was to him, dragging him through the pristine mud of political correctness.)

Of course, von Trier was marginalized by much of the American critical community in years past as “anti-American,” making it hard for some of his work to get distribution here. And there was the stupid – really stupid – claim that Anti-Christ was torture porn of some kind. This was about as accurate as saying that paintings of Christ on the cross are torture porn.

What really disturbs me is that this is not Fox F-ing News, where anti-intellectual hysteria is a way of life (as they support everyone who would drain every last dollar out of the pockets of anyone earning less than $200k a year). This is a FILM FESTIVAL. We are film critics.

And what I get, for years now, is a Cannes that is, between the festival and many of the critics – there are notable exceptions – a place to kill the most ambitious movies, except for the one or two that somehow make it through the gauntlet and which are usually then overpraised. If Godard showed up today for the first time with modern work that evoked his earliest works, he would be played out of competition and barely written about. But hey… there was a panda and some pirates to drink with and a work that took years and years to make into a gentle wisp about how we live that needed to be judged into oblivion within seconds of the exit doors opening at the theater.

And now, as the French president of the IMF is up on rape charges and Newt Gingrich is being drummed out of the Republican presidential race for making a statement of moderation and 27 were killed at an Iraq police station… and a filmmaker is being kicked out of the Cannes party for words. Words. Not even his ideas. Words.

And the media is completely complicit as we incite the rage by making headlines referring to a “meltdown” or blasting “I am a Nazi” all over the place, when it could not be more clearer than von Trier was NOT endorsing the mass murder of Jews or any race. And if you were to kick every filmmaker at Cannes who thinks “Israel is a pain in the ass” out of the festival, it would be a quiet place indeed.

Is von Trier an ass at times? Absolutely. Aggressive provocateur? Absolutely.

But he is one of the few high profile filmmakers who pushes audiences to Think. You can hate what he makes, but you can’t deny that he is skilled and alive with ideas. Who will stand for this in a homogenized, instant-news-cycle culture if Film Critics and Festivals will not?

It’s a weird feature of The Blacklist that those who were put on it were not, it seems, targeted specifically for the ideas in their works. They could escape career destruction not by making more “patriotic” films, but by bowing their head to the power of a Senator to silence artists, using the cover of fear of communism.

What are they afraid of with von Trier? Is he being banned because of his ideas or because he made himself vulnerable to being taken out of context and not just being a good boy? Is he in trouble for showing up at the damned press conference? Can anyone seriously make the case that the man, the artist, is in need of being shunned based on anything in his work? If he had actually made the argument that he identified with Palestinian suicide bombers and truly believed they had good reason to kill in the name of their people, would he be banned? Or is that too real an idea for him to be run out of town?

Would I be defending von Trier if he made a film that made jokes about WWII’s concentration camps? Probably not. I still wouldn’t think he should be banned, but that is a more complex conversation. At least that would be a fight over his work… and not some half-assed overly-blithe use of “Nazi” at a press conference, where he did not even invoke the smart ass kid idea that “Hitler had to be admired for his efficiency” and clearly did not refer to himself as a Nazi by claiming to agree with the ideas of Nazism. He also did not use anti-Semitic slurs of any kind, as Galliano did at a restaurant… nor as Mel Gibson did on the PCH.

What does von Trier stand for that must be stomped out? If he bent over and showed the world his ass hole two blocks away on the beach, it would be a Borat stunt. He did it verbally a few feet from Henri Behar, so off with his head!!!


Be Sociable, Share!

98 Responses to “Cannes’nt Take The Heat? Get Out Of The Film Festival Business”

  1. Keil Shults says:

    Do film journalists get a handjob every time they badmouth Fox News, because such mentions seem to appear in the middle of pieces about virtually any subject matter.

    I’m not a conservative, but it’s crap like that which keeps me from calling myself a liberal.

    Then again, MCN has been in a liberal agenda tailspin for some time now, so maybe it’s time to find another mediocre website to read.

  2. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Liberal agenda based on what, its headlines? And Fox News gets rightfully bashed for being a poor media organization. It’s an easy target, but that doesn’t make criticisms of it any less true. There’s always Big Hollywood.

  3. Film Fest News Reporter BBC says:

    Trier got banned because some very influential Film chick, who seemed to know everybody there, & him got in some fight. Don’t know who she is, but everybody there was kissing her butt. They should not be so thin skinned!
    film is art, so stupid!

  4. chris says:

    Well said, DP!

  5. christian says:

    “What really disturbs me is that this is not Fox F-ing News, where anti-intellectual hysteria is a way of life”

    That’s not even a debatable statement Keil (one line in the middle of dozens to boot), so how would pointing out FOX News unarguable bias make you not a liberal?

    But DP is right about Cannes.


  6. krazyeyes says:

    Well said DP.

    The mock-outrage about this in the media (not to mention previous comments made in other threads here) should be reserved for political elections.

  7. H.I. McDunnit says:

    I agree with Howard Johnson–and Keil. The Fox/conservative-bashing on most film sites is as tiresome as it is predictable.

    However, having said that, I find a couple of square yards of common ground with DP: LVT should not have been banned from the CFF. It seems to me that is the opposite extreme of Lisa Schwartzbaum’s (and DP’s) miguided defenses. I think the appropriate reaction is in the middle: Boo, Hiss, you demented narcissist. Shame on you!

    Call hate speech for what it is. Don’t defend morons who engage in it, regardless of whether the moron pleads sarcasm or joking or whatever.
    But shun the moron socially, not with banishment. The greater punishment would have been for the schmuck to have to walk around the remainder of the fest to answer stares and questions from the people who were offended by him.
    Now he can claim to be edgy–and a martyr. Sheesh.

  8. krazyeyes says:

    Can someone explain to me what exactly constituted “hate speech” in the Lars von Trier gaffe? I’m not seeing it.

  9. christian says:

    “The Fox/conservative-bashing on most film sites is as tiresome as it is predictable.”

    Imagine how Common feels!

    But you have a point about the apropos reaction.

  10. JKill says:

    Conservative bashing and Fox bashing are two different things. Or, at least, I hope they are…

  11. Anghus says:

    The only sin he committed was being an attention whore.

    I dislike people who court controversy.

  12. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    And now Lars von Trier has something in common with Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich. Oh sorry more conservative bashing.

  13. Tom C says:

    You said it David. Exactly right. Lars made an ass of himself, punishment enough.

  14. JKill says:

    It’s annoying when things like this happen because the movie von Trier made – you know the actual reason he’s at the festival – looks and sounds pretty awesome.

  15. Krillian says:

    I actually gave up on Von Trier after Manderlay.

    So did he have a movie to promote or something at this “say something controversial” festival?

  16. The Pope says:

    Von Trier did what he most always does: cause a stir in order to draw attention to himself. I said it on another thread, but he is an overgrown child who never wants to accept responsibility. In this instance, he used and thereby cheapened the Holocaust by using it as a means to secure publicity for his film. Worse, he did so smiling and laughing. He knew he was sliding down the slope and so did most everyone else at the press conference and yet, he just kept going. And then he kept making a joke about it. Von Trier is not a complete idiot, but he is an absolute fool. He has played the press at Cannes for years but at last, someone has called time on his antics.

  17. leahnz says:

    the defense of von trier is nauseating.

    oh, he made an ass of himself! no, actually, he said out loud what’s inside his head and it’s extremely ugly and disturbing. making an ass of oneself: dancing around with a lampshade on your head after having had one too many. saying what LVT did: exposing a deeply troubled psyche. what he said is absolutely reprehensible and inexcusable, and his first apology was so dire, it actually made it worse in my mind.

    and who cares if the cannes festival bans him? it’s a private organisation, isn’t it? they can do whatever they like. good for them, ban the fucker, bravo. i was talking to some europeans working here and this creeping ‘neutralisation’ of hitler that’s been going on in europe is deeply disturbing, a trend that needs serious examination. anyone who watches that vid and then excuses it as LVT just being ‘provocative’ because he makes movies…who gives shit if you make movies, that you’re an ‘artist’, if you are seriously thinking about hitler in his final hour and feeling SYMPATHY or UNDERSTANDING, you have big problems.

    “I think he did some wrong things, absolutely”

    oh really, you think hitler “did SOME WRONG THINGS”, LVT? cheat on taxes? drown a bag of kittens? seek help.

    eta: this:

    “As inarticulate as his comments and the tortured path they rambled down were, he never said anything more generous to Hilter than, “I think I understand the man.” ”

    i think one needs to take his entire statement into account to give it context, his generosity to hitler wasn’t just in “i think i understand the man’, but in bizarrely minimizing sentiments such as the one i quoted above. it’s the tone of the whole statement, not just the individual parts, that make it so troubling.

  18. leahnz says:

    yikes, what i was going to say in my eta and completely forgot the entire reason for the eta was this: LVT said, “i think i understand the man, and sympathise with him a little”

    why did you leave the ‘sympathise’ bit out DP? because that makes the thought a good deal worse, doesn’t it.

  19. Bigbull says:

    Doesn’t Von Trier always pull stunts like this in order to garner attention for himself and his films whenever he has one about to be released?

  20. yancyskancy says:

    My research on this issue consists entirely of watching the offending two minutes of the press conference (though the original question isn’t there, which may or may not have added some context), and my initial reaction is to agree with David. It looked to me like a man making a lame joke in his second language, and acknowledging that the joke was getting away from him and failing. He seems at one point to assure Kirsten Dunst that he will eventually talk his way out of the hole, but he never quite manages it. His statements about Hitler reminded me of the famous Terence quote, “Nothing human is alien to me,” and if LVT had prefaced his comments with that quote, there probably would’ve been less outcry. The news stories I’ve scanned (okay, I guess I did a little extra research after all) pull the offending quotes out of context, so that anyone who reads only the first paragraph of coverage will think LVT basically “came out” as a Nazi and is therefore beyond reproach.

    LVT is a kneejerk provocateur, and it’s bitten him in the ass, but the banishment doesn’t seem warranted to me. The Cannes board of directors called the remarks “unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the festival.” Seems like an overstatement to me.

  21. Michael F. says:

    How can you NOT take into account the question von Trier was asked? My understanding is that one could infer it raised an issue re: the influence on his work of his “German” roots. If you don’t know the question, how can you judge the answer: what if it was “Are you a Nazi?”

  22. LexG says:

    Lost in the Von Trier discussion is the fact that the line about being a proud Jew until he met Susanne Bier is a top-notch joke.

    And, really, it’s all in the delivery (and Lars’s is pretty terrible)… because anything he said, Sarah Silverman could’ve and might’ve said in that cute pipsqueak voice in her act, and no one would take it seriously for a second.

  23. R. says:

    “he said out loud what’s inside his head and it’s extremely ugly and disturbing”

    leahnz are you using your amazing telepathic powers again?

    Okay then: What am I thinking right now?

    Yep, you guessed right! I am thinking you are a moron.

    Those are some amazing scanning powers you got there. Wheee.


  24. leahnz says:

    thanks, R. i am rather psychic.

    so what’s your theory, that he was saying thoughts that came from outside his mind? i actually hadn’t considered that. maybe aliens were speaking thru him, trying to get him in trouble!

    (oh, and also, why hide behind a letter?)

    context. sarah silverman is a comedian. sarah silverman is not european, where one of the worst crimes against humanity occurred in living memory, perpetrated by a man so inhumane and despicable and full of hate so as to render him a history lesson. comparing her to LVT in this context is nonsensical.

    your (and others) excuse that LVT wasn’t ‘serious’ doesn’t hold up, because he himself could have very easily just said in his weak ‘apology’ afterwards that it was all in jest, and yet he does not, only ‘IF you were offended by my remarks, i’m sorry, hitler wasn’t a good guy’ (paraphrasing; yeah that pesky hitler was a bit of a meanie!). no, “oh i was kidding”, “my humour was lost on you”, anything to indicate he wasn’t saying what he thinks. he dug himself into a hole and then tried to joke his way out of it AT THE END with the israel comment and grandiose, ‘yes, i’m a nazi’ because he realised he’d well and truly put his foot in it. you could tell when he was gesturing to dunst that his mind was scrambling for a way out and then he tried for humour after it was well and truly too late.

  25. christian says:

    Von Trier is kind of sociopathic yes?

  26. leahnz says:

    i’d say so.

    one other thing i’ve noticed in this fuckarow is people pulling the “PC” card, as if saying one understands and sympathises with hitler and is proud to find out they are a nazi (never mind that von trier automatically equates german heritage with being related to nazis) is akin to using the word ‘handicapped’ or advocating the rights of smokers or some such little gaffe. when did sympathising with the great white-supremacist mass-murderer get reduced to a ‘PC’ issue in the public discourse, which seems like a disturbing minimisation of the issue to one of language rather than psychology

  27. SamLowry says:

    I think people are giving Hitler way too much credit.

    There are plenty of nutjobs like him wandering around at any given time and there are plenty in the U.S. of A. right now, but none of them will gain any traction unless they catch the ears of enough people who will say “The guy has a point!”

    Germany was full of people in the ’30s who thought he had a point. He didn’t man every switch in each camp and he didn’t pull every trigger on the front, nor did he have any magical abilities or the power of mesmerism. Lots of people agreed with him and they all jumped on the bandwagon. And in at least a few polls conducted by German media in the last few decades, most Germans admitted that they knew what was going on in the camps.

    Most will claim that they were powerless to do anything about it, but the only reason anything happened was because they knew and agreed, or shrugged and looked the other way.

  28. chris says:

    Agreed on the Bier part, Lex. I don’t know a thing about her personally but she sure is a hack.

  29. SamLowry says:

    Oh, and when LVT said that Israel is being a pain in the ass, I had to laugh when I heard Israel’s refusal to go back to the ’67 map as asked for by Obama, because too many of the settlements would be outside Israel’s borders. Those settlements are illegal, aren’t they? And who allowed them to be built in the first place? Just let the Palestinians bulldoze ’em or maybe just move right in.

    Turnabout is fair play and all that.

  30. David Poland says:

    I think I get it, Leah. You just don’t have a sense of humor.

    I’m not saying you have to agree with me on this (though you should). But you talk about this like he was Kruschev (sic… typing in a line on a phone) banging his shoe on the lectern at the UN. Not a reasonable perspective, in my subjective view.

    AND LvT pointing out France’s history with we Jews is f-ing hysterical. And did I hear that Argentina was expressing anger at him… that had to be a joke, right?

  31. yancyskancy says:

    Michael F.: Not sure if your comment was addressed to me, but just in case — I didn’t say I wasn’t taking the question into account. I just said the clip I saw didn’t include it. You definitely have a point that it’s hard to judge the answer without knowing the question. That’s why I brought it up; I wanted to make it clear that my response to the brouhaha was based only on that clip that’s going around.

  32. R. says:

    leahnz sometimes people say the opposite of what they believe. Like for example, when they make jokes. He even said he was joking IN THE VIDEO. AT THE TIME. Did you miss that part? Or maybe the only part that was a lie, was when he said he was joking.

    here is his apology:

    “If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize,” Von Trier said in a statement. “I am not antisemitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi.”

    According to your mind scan, Is the apology a lie too?

    In answer to your question, I am hiding behind a letter because I don’t want to put my name here. I know, confusing right?

  33. SamLowry says:

    I agree that the transcript of his comments is amazingly funny, but the delivery, as shown in the video, is excruciating.

    And yet I still want to see the video of him saying “I would like to talk about my next film, which is, Kirsten insisted, going to be a porn film. And we made this famous beaver shot [Admittedly, he could have said “River.” We couldn’t tell because of the accent] in the film where Kirsten was naked, and I said, ‘It doesn’t really fit the film,’ and she said, ‘I feel strongly for this.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, it’s pretty good.’ And now she wants more. And Charlotte is behind this. They want a really, really hard-core film. And I’m doing my best. I said, ‘But then let’s make a lot of talking in between. There should be a lot of dialogue.’ And they said, ‘We don’t give a shit about dialogue. We just want to have a lot of very, very unpleasant sex.’ And that’s what I’m working on. And it’s going to be about three or four hours long, and the only reason for that is that this press conference will be a little later.”

    ( )

    After that, how could anyone possibly take his comments about Hitler seriously?

  34. LYT says:

    “anything he said, Sarah Silverman could’ve and might’ve said in that cute pipsqueak voice in her act, and no one would take it seriously for a second.”

    ^this. Though I confess that Silverman’s whole “ironic racism” shtick has become tiresome to me.

    Weirds me out when people keep talking about “LVT” – like if I squint, I’m being discussed behind my back.

  35. anghus says:

    people are way too fast to hit the ‘outrage’ button.

    it doesn’t change the fact that he’s a fucking moron.

    these are two separate issues. they get mashed into one. people get outraged and start to put connotation behind ridiculous behavior.

    he’s an ass. what he said isn’t nearly as earth shattering as some would have you believe.

  36. leahnz says:

    uh oh, i disagreed with the herd of (american) sheep, let me have it! i briefly forgot the hotblog commenters are THE arbiters of what is funny, what is offensive, and how things must be interpreted! how could this happen.

    and most egregiously, i disagreed with david poland, so i must not have a sense of humour, oh no!…(well, that IS the funniest thing i’ve read in a while, so kudos DP, your ego is intact, pity you sound like a ridiculous knob. so what do you say to the MASSES of people who also don’t agree with your subjective assessment of this matter? NO SENSE OF HUMOUR!!! you tell ’em, oh arbiter of what is funny and what isn’t! how dare anybody disagree with you! unbelievable. the nerve.

    now, to all you scrambling so desperately to insist that the whole LVT incident was an ill-advised ‘joke’ and meant to be taken as such, three things:

    most crucially, LVT has not claimed it was a joke, and he’s had ample opportunity to do so. his mention of ‘another joke’ towards the end of his outrageously rambling diatribe is clearly him trying on a bunch of one-liners to dig himself out of the deep hole he’d dug for himself, not proof that his babbling was, in fact, a joke. i haven’t spoken to a single person about it today who saw the cringe-inducing video and thought his hitler sympathy introspection was an attempt at ‘humour’, but rather that’s what he resorted to after his thoughts were going down like a lead balloon. and this includes several europeans i work with.

    second, the person sitting right next to him in the room (dunst) CLEARLY does not think it was meant as a joke, even as he scrambles to right the ship, she is horrified. but she must also be wrong, because she was there and you lot weren’t but you know best becuase YOU HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR and dunst’s extreme discomfort is merely because SHE HAS NO SENSE OF HUMOUR WHEN IT COMES TO HITLER IN HIS BUNKER SYMPATHY!! silly girl.

    last, sarah silverman is a comedian, and an american one at that. if people can’t see the difference in context between her and von trier making hitler/nazi comments in a european venue, what more can be said besides, good grief.

    on to ‘captain condescension’ – or the brilliantly and imaginatively monikerd ‘R.’, who feels it necessary to make it personal with me rather than stay on topic because of what i can only assume is some gross insecurity issues and/or mental illness – your logic is inane.

    re: his mention of ‘another joke’ in his rambling idiocy, see above. that you think this is ‘proof’ that it was all a joke rather than him desperately trying to dig his foot out of his mouth after the fact only proves that you are, in fact, the moron, apparently incapable of seeing that someone might view what went down differently than you, and that your interpretation isn’t definitive.

    further, ANY apology beginning with by ‘IF’ is not sincere, because it subtley indicates a pompous unwillingness to accept that you have said something hurtful. von trier knows full well his words offended people, apologising with IF as if this might not be the case is the oldest cop-out in the book.

    also, if his pathetic ramble was all just an attempt at humour gone wrong, why not just SAY SO in your public statement and make that clear? if he wasn’t serious to begin with, why make a serious apology and make NO attempt to clear the air or make your intentions heard? riddle me that, genius. it makes no sense.

    re: the apology itself, i find it fascinating that someone has a rather horrible public bout of verbal diarrhea, then issues a short, sterile, standard public statement in which he claims, “i am not a racist or anti-semitic”, and this is just automatically taken at face value. i hate to break it to people, but it’s not exactly unusual for racists to deny being so in public, it’s called self-preservation. we see it time and time again, people in the public eye claiming not to be this or that, and then being caught in the exact same behaviour. saying publicly, “i am not a racist!” does not make it so. christ, gullible much.

    also, this ‘free speech’ and ‘artistic expression’ argument, is there something in the cannes film festival regulations guaranteeing festival participants unfettered free speech and artistic expression at press conferences with no possible consequences? if there is, my bad; if not, free speech without consequences at at privately-operated function is not universally guarantee. apart from the fact i heard that LVT was not, in fact, banned from the festival at all, but rather sanctioned for poor behaviour.

  37. leahnz says:

    oh, thanks for that, joe. nice to see i’m not a lonely camper. i think it was in this thread (or it might have been one of the others) that i mentioned having talked with a few of the europeans/russians i often work with about this, and their extreme discomfort and concern with the creeping ‘neutralisation/normalisation’ of hitler as a trend in european popular culture, and how this incident felt like part and parcel of that ‘malaise’ for want of a better word, that such comments LVT makes so cavalierly could be seen as anything other than unequivocally unacceptable in any context.

  38. David Poland says:

    I, for one, am not saying it was a joke, as such. Again, you are approaching this like it is a finite thing. And now, it’s about the rise if anti-Semism in Europe. Oy.

    You want him – and often, the rest of us – not only to agree with you, but to agree with you the way you want us to agree with you. And if we don’t, we are not only wrong, but somehow abusive.

    I can’t argue with that… no positive outcome available.

    What do I say to those who disagree with me on this? Depends what they disagree with and how. Some people have formed their opinion based on bad reporting of what happened. Some have no sense of humor. Some have real arguments about why this is very bad… and that is when I am respectful and ask about context.

    People who make every argument about my ego or my knob… not really anything there to discuss that matters. My ego least of all.

  39. yancyskancy says:

    LVT to an LA Times reporter: “I’m really sincere when I say I don’t really know what hit me. I can understand if you take things out of context. This was very sarcastic and very rude, but that’s very Danish. I’m very sorry that it’s being taken the wrong way.”

    I’ve watched the offending clip a second time and still think he was joking. I think joking is both how he dug the hole, and how he tried to get out of the hole. I understand that other subjective opinions are possible, but that’s the one I choose. Interpretation is required — we’re trying to gauge his intent from his words (which are not in his native language) and his expressions.

    It’s also possible that not all of LVT’s remarks about Hitler were in jest. He may have meant that, as an artist and a human, he understands the worst aspects of humanity along with the best. Any writer or actor who labors to create a compelling antagonist knows that you’ll probably do a better job if you use some sympathetic imagination. It’s been said many times, but if we demonize Hitler as an inhuman abomination rather than a supremely flawed human, we run the risk of fooling ourselves that it can never happen again (it also suggests that those who followed him are absolved because they were merely mesmerized by the demon). Even if this risks “normalizing” him, it in no way condones what he did; to me it actually accentuates the horror of his actions, because a human perpetrated them on his fellow humans. I should add the caveat that I don’t know anything about these “neutralization/normalization” efforts in Europe, how they’re manifested, or what possible rationalization they could make that would minimize Hitler’s crimes in the eyes of any sane person.

  40. leahnz says:

    oh DP, please point out where i have been abusive in this thread to anyone (apart from perhaps LVP) who hasn’t openly insulted me personally first. and let me get this straight: you can blatantly say, ‘you have no sense of humour’, which is just an asinine thing to say and PATENTLY INSULTING to one’s person, and that’s somehow NOT ABUSIVE, but me telling you that insulting me in such a pompous fashion is acting like knob IS? so you can engage in personal insults and it’s not ‘abusive’, but a retort is. very rational. and delusional. and please point out where i’ve said – or implied – to ANYONE in this thread they have to agree with me. give me one example. i’ve been pretty much the lone voice of dissent, with people calling me a moron and telling me i have no sense of humour because i don’t share the consensus view, and yet i get called abusive and accused of having to have everyone agree with me by virtue of the fact that disagree with the pack, and have given valid reason why, just as valid as any opposing view.

    also, this hilarious notion that because i don’t agree with your POV, i can’t see the ‘grey area’. because you think there’s a grey area in this, then there must be. you think lots of people aren’t thinking exactly like me? joe had a few choice words there. so we’re flawed because we don’t see the grey area where you deem it to be? lol

    (and also, von trier has no problem with english, he speaks it fluently, makes films in it and shit. that’s possibly the worst rationalisation of the many. HE SPEAKS ENGLISH WITH A DANISH ACCENT for goodness sake. he knew exactly what he was saying. how did we ‘take things out of context’? how was sympathizing with hitler in context at the press conference for ‘melancholia’. someone asked him about his heritage and we get a hitler sympathiser babble because he doesn’t like the questions, and that’s ‘in context’…or is that, in fact, revealing something about LVT and how he thinks, that those thoughts are even rattling around in his head, let alone articulating them in such a bizarre context. some things YOU JUST DON’T SAY. and there is a reason for that.

  41. Joe Straatmann says:

    I will say that I did laugh at David’s twitter joke about the French. I am a terrible human being. As far as the latest controversy surrounding “Lars von Trier Rapes and Destroys the Life of a Random Woman on Film Part 10,” all I can say is, “Hey, look, kids, there’s Big Be…..” Wait, I said I’d never do that again….. But, really, whether he intends to or not, von Trier’s nature is to stir the pot, and it seems what’s REALLY up is Cannes doesn’t like the WAY he stirs it these days. Apparently, he has to go back to making 3-hour anti-American movies that take place on a soundstage to get back in their good graces. But noooooo, saying offensive shit about stuff that happened to THEM, THAT’S out of line!

    You can be offended. You can not like the guy or his work. I’m not really a fan except for certain things like The Five Obstructions. I like depressing movies about the cruelty of humanity as much as one can, but when one constantly wields a sledge hammer that has to pound the audience in the face to get the unpleasantness across, it becomes as dramatically interesting to me as a hero with a Christ-like story arc, with some exceptions on both the depressing and Christ-like sides. But that isn’t the issue here. The issue is people are being truly shocked and surprised by someone they shouldn’t be shocked and surprised by at this point. It’s like being shocked Rush Limbaugh said some shit about illegal immigrants.

    I think the last time the media gave this much of a shit about von Trier was Dogville, because “OH ROAR ROAR ROAR, HE MADE AN ANTI-AMERICAN MOVIE AND HE HASN’T BEEN TO AMERICA!!!” Even the “Antichrist is the worst movie EVER!!!” story was kind of a shrug outside of the festival. As I understand it, there were Hell-worthy trespasses every day in Cannes in the 70s, so that’s kind of bullshit, but whatever. What this amounts to is the offensive comedian that everyone’s okay with until the spotlight is placed on them. And my response is, “What the hell did you expect?!” I don’t want to put words in your mouth Leah, but I expect a lot of your disdain of him from the beginning comes from, well, the way every female main character in his films get treated and reacts to the treatment. Am I off on this?

    In other news today, the Baltimore Orioles suck, Lady Gaga did something odd and individualistic, and I need more sleep.

  42. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Press conference + LVF = Prankish behavior.

    What part of that simple equation don’t you understand Leah?

    You wear your lone voice of dissent like some badge of courage. You know who else does that? Raving loonies in the street.

    You constantly project onto everyone who disagrees with you. It’s borderline personality. Any sane person can see that LVF was just fucking around at a press conference. Every single journo filing stories knows its just good copy. No one thinks he’s a Nazi. Except you. Dunst was embarrassed in the same way people at weddings cringe at speeches.

    I wish someone could cut and paste all your rants and diagnose you like you so easily did with LVF. The diagnosis would be oh so revealing. So so much anger Leah. Only the love of a hot-sauce-lip-licking big easy critic could pacify that much rage.

  43. leahnz says:

    aw, kiss my ass JBD, ZERO RAGE, sorry sweatballs, but you keep telling yourself that, you LOVE it. RAAAAGEEEEE! HULK SMASSSHHH! hey, at least you didn’t call me a cunt. i think you might have been in a RAAAGEE!!! but kisses! (curious how you are so certain i’m in a rage, know-it-all much? poor kitten. or should i call you R? you sound scarily alike. OBSESSED WITH ME. and as always, i’m cool as a cucumber. the last time i got into a rage was inexplicably when someone stole my recycling bin and i was super tired, i had a shit fit, it was funny. or afterwards it was funny, not during, my boy didn’t stop laughing at me for days)

    no, actually JBD, MULTITUDES of sane people don’t think LVD was just messing around like it’s a given fact. sorry. WRONG. but kisses.

    also, because i’ve been drinking and thinking about friggin hitler (what could be more delightful on a friday evening), this notion that hitler and the subtle ‘neutralisation’ of the man in popular culture is an issue of mere ‘anti-semitism’ is rather limited. hitler goes way beyond the borders of anti-semitism, you don’t have to be jewish to have an opinion or be offended that someone should speak publicly about sympathising with hitler, whose white-supremacist crimes against humanity are just that, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. he is who we teach our children about as a cautionary tale, a benchmark for REAL human barbarity, cruelty and intolerance.

    one could argue that ‘normalising/humanising’ hitler is counteractive to remembering his legacy of unspeakable and unimaginable suffering and death, racism, fascism, totalitarianism, anti-intellectualism, paranoia, and mind-control — these are what hitler represents to humanity, not simply ‘anti-semitism’. is there really an upside to ‘naturalising’ hitler and remembering him as ‘a man’, in speaking cavalierly about him the way LVT did, whatever the context, with no consequences? that’s debatable, and i’d argue humanising him is more dangerous than not; i don’t want to live in a world where what LVT did is excused away as a faux pas or being ‘an ass’, where hitler is a pop-culture debate. (and if LVT really DOES think he understands and sympathises with hitler, which i’d say is a distinct possibly that has nothing to do with whether or not the hotblog commenters want to admit it or not, then perhaps for many people that is an indication of something amiss in the mind of the ‘sympathiser’)

    in ‘the final solution’, as always, apathy enables evil. where do we draw the line? when does apathy creep in and speaking of understanding and sympathising with hitler becomes anything less than unacceptable. sometimes there has to be a line, LEST WE FORGET. when unimaginable evil (and i mean human evil, not satanic evil) has reared its head and marched across the land on a mission to kill and exterminate and rule with an iron fist, maybe the perpetrator of this extermination most foul should NEVER be humanised, perhaps he doesn’t deserve to retain any shred of humanity, or sympathy, or understanding. maybe it’s inherently disrespectful of all those killed and lives destroyed opposing him to ever speak of him in that manner, in any ‘context’.

    (i’d like to see LVT pull his crap in a room full of old WWII vets. i don’t fancy his chances.)

  44. leahnz says:

    sorry straatmann, i meant to say but got carried away blathering, yes i do disdain LVT for that, but this hitler thing is on a whole nother level for me. simply gobsmacking. any of my previous issues with him pale into insignificance

  45. IO FROM THE FUTURE says:

    Who actually reads laehnz’s written diarrhea?

    But hey, she’s spoken with some Europeans so that makes her CORRECT.

  46. The Big Perm says:

    Ha ha ha, whoops, I still had my fake nomenclature on here, and I wanted to make sure everyone knows that it was written by me, The Big Perm, using his legal name.

  47. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Is what LVT said any worse than what Oliver Stone said about the “Jewish-dominated media” and putting Hitler “in context?” Has Stone been banned from film festivals for his comments?

  48. David Poland says:

    “some things YOU JUST DON’T SAY.”

    I think, through all the screaming you’re doing, this is the crux of your position.  And I consider it a very narrow way of thinking about speech.

    Moreover, your seeming disinterest in whether “multitudes” actually know what happen or are just as happy to narrow it all down to a word that must not be spoken is exactly the mindset that allowed The Jewish Holocaust to happen.  The ends justify the means because YOU feel that the ends are right… doesn’t matter how one gets there.  

    Jews were a power in the financial sector in Germany. And so arguments that Jews were responsible for the financial disaster that was then Germany was an argument that could be batted around (however wrong).  But then it became accepted rhetoric. Then an excuse to marginalize Jews in the country.  And then, to an unthinkable (for most) “solution.”. But all of it starts with a simplified idea.

    I am not calling you a Nazi or even French.  I just think you are so anxious to make your argument, you have grossly oversimplified not only the event, but the coverage and the reaction of those who would agree with you.

    You and I disagree on this.  Your view is not invalid because I disagree.  But invoking the “multitudes,” even if your multitudes have many different ways that they have gotten to this end is very “I just did what I was told.”

    Worse, you try to marginalize the opinion with which you disagree by making it about my ego or “hot button commentors.” Nasty.

    I have done no polling, but my guess would be that polling would show that 85% of people don’t know who Lars Trier is and of the other 15%, 60% haven’t heard the story at all, and of that 60% of 15%, fewer than 50% know what was actually said and in what tone or context. And amongst that less than 4.5%, we could have a constructive discussion.

  49. storymark says:

    “i briefly forgot the hotblog commenters are THE arbiters of what is funny, what is offensive, and how things must be interpreted!”

    Yeah, clearly that’s your job.

  50. Anghus says:


    Your estimate is a little conservative. id feel comfortable saying 95% of the world has no idea who he is.

  51. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, I think there are very very few directors who’s name means anything. Like, my parents wouldn’t know who Tim Burton is. But they’d know Speilberg or Tarantino.

  52. Popcorn slayer says:

    After overhearing a couple of guys who seemed convinced that Tarantino directed FARGO – and this was in a Los Angeles audience – I’d go up to 99%.

  53. David Poland says:

    Wait a minute, Perm! You’re calling Spielberg a Nazi?!?!?!

  54. The Big Perm says:

    Well, I have asked several bums on the street what they think, and they all agree that Spielberg is a Nazi and also butterflies are out to kill them.

  55. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Watch out you nazi-loving woman haters, the lush will be back with a raging hangover soon.

  56. christian says:

    “You wear your lone voice of dissent like some badge of courage.”

    Well, given the frat-centric POV here sometimes, that’s a good thing. While LVT is an intellectual cretin who likes to poke at people to get a response (like his films), so do DP and others here. The sad circus of life, yes?

    And when I read comments like this from that other film blog referencing DP’s post:

    “Hitler also didn’t plan on killing Jews until the early 40’s, almost 10 years after he came to power. He started off by taking away their rights, and would have been content with that. But he needed to do something, since putting them in ghettos endangered the surrounding town (diseases created in the ghetto spread), so he sent them to work camps.)”

    Then LVT’s comments become uglier because foolish young folk who don’t have a fucking clue can point to them and say, “Yeah, see, I get where Von Trier was going. Lighten up, dude.”

  57. yancyskancy says:

    Ryan Adams has this to say on the subject at Awards Daily:

    “I have varying degrees of revulsion and sometimes grudging respect for films like Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible, Virginie Despentes’ Baise-moi, and Brillante Mendoza’s Kinotay, but despite how offensive anyone may feel those films to be, the Cannes selection committee chose each of them to screen at the festival. Brutal rape, female dismemberment, pedophilia — all acceptable subjects for films at festivals around the world. No matter how repellent the topic or how provocative a movie may be, I’ve always admired Cannes for its fearlessness in letting filmmakers express their sometimes muddled attempts to make sense of it all.

    Oliver Hirschbiegel’s devastating film Downfall was entirely devoted to getting inside Hitler’s head during the last claustrophobic days in his bunker. But today it’s considered too far over the line for von Trier to say about Hitler, ‘I can see him sitting in his bunker in the end… I think I understand the man… I understand much about him, and yeah, I sympathize with him a little bit.’

    Even if this entire statement had not been framed as part of von Trier’s arch and highly ironic attempt to describe his conflicted connections with Germany’s horrific history, how is, ‘I sympathize with him a little bit’ so far beyond the deeply sympathetic portrayal of Hitler by Bruno Ganz? It strikes me that von Trier’s thoughts are far more complex than his off-the-cuff fumbling with the English language is equipped to express. But how can anyone confuse the human capacity to feel a grain of sympathy for a Nazi with being a Nazi sympathizer? There’s important nuance there, and a lot of people are missing it.”

  58. Joe Leydon says:

    I’d like to interrupt this duel of wits (in want of a better term) to note the tragic passing of Macho Man Randy Savage — who, frankly, entertained me more than LVT ever has. Chaos reigns? Then step into a Slim Jim.

  59. Foamy Squirrel says:

    …and Jake “The Snake” Roberts, possibly the biggest drug addict in wrestling history, lives on…

  60. chris says:

    One result of reading the comments on this thread: I believe I now have a new least-favorite poster.

  61. Joe Leydon says:

    Chris: Say it isn’t so!

  62. Not David Bordwell says:

    Watching Leah get roughed up like this, in really personal terms, is distressing. I know she’s a tough cookie, but is this really warranted? Under the aegis of “she can dish it out, so she should be able to take it”? Like it’s okay to call her a lush, or a lesbian (yeah, I KNOW, not in THIS thread), or all of the epithets usually heaped upon women who speak up and defend themselves — even if they do so stridently (humorless, man-hating, whatever).

    Is the fact that an actual feminist who has made her political ideology crystal clear repeatedly, loudly, and unpopularly really that much of a problem for this boy’s club? We aren’t way the fuck past that? You guys really want to push her out of the treehouse now?

    Only Joe Leydon and christian are going show some solidarity?

    What did she do, anyway? I’M RIGHT AND YOU’RE WRONG is the way this blog operates ALL THE TIME. So what’s different here? She’s uppity?

    Is anyone willing to grant even the possibility that there may be something about European politics that makes the Cannes decision understandable NOT as an attack on free speech or artistic freedom or whatever your cause is, but as a political statement against the hard right IN FRANCE, which always threatens to become the political establishment and which Sarkozy is trying to appease by rounding up Gypsies (just as long as it’s not Jews, right)? Most of you seem oblivious to the political situation in Europe, ignorant of the fact that there are political parties whose fascist rhetoric would ACTUALLY BE BANNED in Germany, and whose adherents would have no problem sending whoever they think is the cause of Europe’s problems (Muslims, Romani, Turks, Algerians, other Africans) back home, or to work camps, or worse.

    But Leah brings this political reality up, she’s ridiculed for having EUROPEAN COLLEAGUES who might give her a perspective other than David Poland’s.

    I don’t get it. When she talks about things you agree with or get off on, half of you act like you want to get into her pants. But when she gets angry about something, WHAT A BITCH.

    Oh, and by the way: FUCK Lars Von Trier.

  63. christian says:

    Not David Bordwell FOR THE EPIC WIN.

  64. storymark says:

    “Is the fact that an actual feminist who has made her political ideology crystal clear repeatedly, loudly, and unpopularly really that much of a problem for this boy’s club?”

    I don’t think so, no.

    But if she’s going to attack those who view the situation differently than her, she should be able to deal with the backlash that ensues. Wouldn’t being nicer to her because she’s a woman, rather than treating her like anyone else on the board, be rather anti-feminist?

  65. David Poland says:

    NDB – Really?

    I have to embrace Leah’s willingness to marginalize a filmmaker because pointing out her humorlessness on the situation makes me a misogynist?

    And Cannes is making a political statement by banning a filmmaker because he said something dumb/silly/using the N word? That’s a FILM FESTIVAL still, right?

    Like Sundance’s brave (ha ha) statement on Prop 8 was to play most pf the press screenings in the theater owned by the guy who threw 100s of thousands at keeping gay people second class citizens in California from his Utah perch.

    The problem that crops up with Leah is that when she is challenged, she turns things into a discussion of the person challenging her and not fighting the issue. When she writes that there are some things that just can’t be said, she is going so someplace I consider dangerous… nothing Von Trier said comes close.

    But none of this has anything to do with her gender. That just more mud slung. And you, NDB, are highlighting gender issues with this web thing about “you guys write like you want to get in her pants.”. I’m sure some people do, but aside from the fact that she argues feminism like it’s a cult at times, her gender has never been an issue for me. Not for a second.

    I hate PC bullshit on both sides.

  66. The Big Perm says:

    I could see how a messed up dude like Von Trier could sympathize with Hiter…wasn’t he really depressed and didn’t want to make more movies? Unless he was lying, which is always possible. But to me he’s not saying he can sympathize with killing Jews, he’s saying he can understand dark impulses and fucked up thoughts.

  67. nikki whisperer says:

    I came across the entire press conference, not just the isolated clip most people have seen. I tried to link it here, but it wouldn’t accept the post for some reason. It can be found on the main Cannes site, on the Daily Events for 5/18, video number D10. Lost in the controversy is the actual question asked by the British journalist, which more or less shows that she brought up the issue of Nazism first and that Von Trier was replying to a specific inquiry, not merely throwing out terms like “Nazi” for shock value:

    After a discussion of German romanticism, Wagner and the use of music in the film, he is asked, “Can you talk a bit about your German roots and the Gothic aspect of this film, and also you mentioned in a Danish film magazine also about your interest in the Nazi aesthetic and you talked about that and your German roots at the same time. Can you tell us a bit more about that?”

    This in no way excuses the cringier aspects of his foot-in-mouth gaffe, but does, indeed, show that there was a context to his remarks.

  68. Ray Pride says:

    The video and the downloadable MP3 of the MELANCHOLIA press conference are linked on the front page, nikki w.

  69. Joe Leydon says:

    NDB: I don’t know if that’s quite accurate. I mean, even when I disagree with Leah, I still want to get into her pants.

  70. torpid bunny says:

    Damnit nikki whisperer, how dare you bring factual reporting and context to this discussion?

  71. Not David Bordwell says:

    David, I’m taking your “Really?” as an invitation to respond, even if you think I’m in the “PC bullshit” camp for defending Leah’s perspective. You often challenge your commenters for making assumptions about your motives; I’d ask you to not make assumptions about mine. You will not find a more radical First Amendment supporter, believe me.

    “Marginalizing a filmmaker” is your issue. “Empowering the fascist right in Europe” is Leah’s. She acknowledges that her viewpoint won’t be popular, because your point about PC overkill has already been made in your original post, and every other comment before hers has been a hearty endorsement of your opinion. When you respond, you don’t just say “I don’t agree with you” — which is obvious because that was your point to begin with — you tell her she has no sense of humor.

    Who likes to be told that? You attack her first, get her blood up, she gets defensive (who doesn’t?), and then other commenters start to get personal. She responds in kind, because she’s LEAH.

    She’s a woman in the film industry, David, clearly. How much of this shit do you think she has to eat every day of her working life? You think she’s overly sensitive, expresses her feminism like a “cult” — you act like there’s some way she’s fundamentally wrong for reacting the way she does when she gets talked down to and dismissed. Especially by the Master of the House, the Lord of the Manor. You respond to her like you want her to shut the fuck up and go away.

    You do this to other commenters, too, I recognize, and they do the same kinds of things — they get pissy, they keep coming back, they respond, the get defensive, they call you out, the malign your motives, they call you names.

    I don’t recall that you have ever accused IO or LexG of expressing allegiance to a “cult,” not even the obscene cult of fanboyism or the cult of HOT SQUACK.

    I did not call you a misogynist. I don’t think you are. But you are responsible for the culture of your blog, and I am not the first or only poster who has had occasion to remark on the nature of the comments here as having “boys’ club” or “frat boy” tendencies. I did not start the gendered talk. I did not refer to Leah as “lesbianz” (I KNOW, not this thread, but it’s part of the culture) or post this comment:

    “Watch out you nazi-loving woman haters, the lush will be back with a raging hangover soon.”

    But if you are a feminist, you have extra sensitivity to double standards, and especially to the language in which women in particular are told to mind their place by people with the authority to do so.

    If you want to call that PC, instead of treating the only woman who throws down on a daily basis on YOUR BLOG like everyone else who engages in much the same behavior, that’s a YP, not an MP.

    And if Leah decides she’s had enough and doesn’t post here anymore because of the way she is attacked, you will be responsible for that, and it will be a true loss.

  72. David Poland says:

    NDB – I’m glad you’re a 1st Amendment guy, but if you take what is clearly silliness/stupidity and not a political position statement and turn it into a tretise on Euro-fascism, you have no sense of humor. Sorry, Penis or vagina, it’s dangerously oversensitive.

    I like Leah and appreciate her involvement here, but she does have a propensity to hyper-sensitivity. And God forbid one mentions it, because that is the end of the world.

    I would love to have a serious back-and-forth with Leah about all kinds of things, but in my history with her, I find the door shut. Certainly there are those who feel I am the same way. But make an argument, not a personal attack. There are lots of times when I seriously reconsider my feelings about issues because of a smart thought from one of you or from elsewhere. I believe I have had it happen with Leah. And vice versa.

    But “i don’t want to live in a world where what LVT did is excused away as a faux pas or being ‘an ass’, where hitler is a pop-culture debate” just blows my mind. It’s dangerously narrow minded. It’s a world in which Hitler can be given more credence because the 99%-plus majority of people who are not debating Hitler are too timid to bring him up in the context he and the Nazis deserve. That, by the way, includes Von Trier.

    In this thread, accusing people of being too PC has been attacked as cheap and/lazy, assuming that Fox News is spun excrement has been in doubt (those of you who have pushed back on that seem way too smart not to get the Fox News joke, even if you agree with their politics), and Leah – and now you – have brought feminism into it.

    Am I Alice? Did I eat and drink?

    I agree that it’s too easy to dismiss something at a film festival as meaningless because of context, But it is even scarier when something that is so clearly minor gets turned into a serious, angry cause. If LvT had done the crime, I’d be fine with him doing the time. But there is little to indicate that he did… aside from others projecting their fears onto this odd moment.

  73. leahnz says:

    NDB! thank’s man, and christian too (and joe, because he was kind enough to link earlier about his viewpoint, similar to mine, and he’s a big perv and a good sport to all), i don’t take any of this to heart but it’s always nice to see someone has my back a little in this cold blog-world


    anyway, yet another thread chokka with personal jabs at me rather than keeping to the topic at hand, quite fascinating.

    not to belabour the point because i hate when it’s about me, i bore myself, but the funniest thing about posting here and the thing that amuses those who know me no end is the accusation of RAAAAGE (a misinterpretation of my wildly-emphatic, opinionated, sarcastic, no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners, say exactly what i think style, i guess) when i’m such a mellow yellow and so easily amused; maybe it’s being around kids all the time but it takes a LOT to get me angry, and i virtually never get angry posting on this – or any other – blog (well, a couple times at IO, ages ago admittedly, when it was about my boy). also, i so rarely encounter sexism in the film world here, it’s a complete non-issue, maybe i just have the best crew of guys (and chicks) in the world but it just isn’t an issue, a bunch of artists having a laugh and working hard. the only sexism i really ever encounter is here, weirdly.


    ‘drinking’ does not mean ‘drunk’. if you can’t have a few drinks without getting drunk, you have a problem. 3 elephant beers last night, to bed at a reasonable hour, fresh as a daisy (sorry JBD… but you can imagine me sitting here in a FROTHING RAGE with veins bulging in my crimson face rather than mellow in my bathrobe with a coffee, since that makes you feel better about yourself, have at it)

    one can be appalled by LVT, think his rambling on display in the press conf. is troubling and not believe he’s a closet weekend nazi; nor does being appalled at LVT excuse the many others who’ve made rancid anti-semitic or hitler-sympathising comments.

    that question the reporter asks LVT is entirely reasonable, based on fact. LVT’s response is outlandish. yes, he’s already talked about the nazi aesthetic previously, making his subsequent babble even more troubling to me, not less.

    DP, i can hardly be tothered even responding to you. I’VE turned this into a personal attack and not stayed on topic in this thread? that is simply untrue. read this thread, and i dare you to point out where I have turned this into a personal fight, and give me some examples. i have stayed UNRELENTINGLY on topic here, unlike several others who’ve chimed in ONLY to make personal comments about me, including YOU, who insulted me personally for merely disagreeing with you (yes i defended myself). you are so utterly blind to your own behaviour it’s starting to get alarming. but go ahead and keep claiming this thread is about me making it a personal fight, laughable.

    (and what on earth are you on about ‘making this about a word’, and lecturing me about jews and you’re not calling me french or a nazi, are you trying to be clever? are you on medication? you’re freaking me out. i’m trying to marginalise a film-maker because i give an opinion on the outcome of the press conf on a blog? do you think i’m ringing around trying to marginalise von trier with my mates? what’s the matter with you, seriously. i take exception to LVT’s remarks about his nazi heritage and sympathising. i (and MANY others) find his remarks unacceptable. pretty simple and clear cut.

    is ryan adams 12? the reasoning in that quote above is embarrassing. he clearly can’t tell the difference between the CONTENT of controversial, provocative films, and some random comments made by an individual just being himself NOT, in fact, in a film or even about a film, but about HIMSELF, at a press conference for a movie that has nothing to do with hitler. yikes. i think the line should be ‘quit your day job’, ryan adams.

    and storymark, point out where i’ve ‘attacked’ anyone for viewing the situation differently. point out ONE attack. perhaps while your at it, you might see several personal attacks on me. or maybe not, i guess you conveniently overlook those, eh. no snarky little comment for DP for saying i have no sense of humour because i don’t agree with him? did i ‘attack’ him prior to that? please point that out. no snark for R calling me a moron out of the blue for giving my opinion? did i ‘attack’ him? or did i stay on topic? so how about it, show me all these attacks in this thread, let’s have some examples, i genuinely want to see what you consider all my attacks on people here.

    and in general americans don’t have the same perspective on, or sensitively about, hitler as europeans do. funny how that works.

  74. leahnz says:

    holy shit i did a smiley face!!!!!!!! my first one

  75. Joe Leydon says:

    A few years ago, Armin Mueller-Stahl and I conversed after a film festival screening of “Conversation With the Beast,” which he directed – and in which he played an aged Adolf Hitler. At the time, he fretted that, within another 30 or 40 years, people would begin to forget how truly evil Hitler was, and start to think of him only as some kind of cartoonish bogeyman. I responded that, while I hoped I was wrong, I didn’t think it would take that long.

    And I have to admit: That’s what stuck in the back of my mind the past few days in the wake of the LVT imbroglio. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely surprised that David would be quick to dismiss this as a harmless expression of free speech, since – not so long ago – he thought it was funny to reprint a truly sick cartoon that involved using a Vietnam War era atrocity as a jokey comment about the critical response to “Speed Racer.” David thought that was funny. I did not. (Neither, by the way, did some of my son’s Vietnamese buddies, who indicated that they would like to non-verbally express their displeasure if they ever met David, but never mind.) Here’s what it all boils down to: There are people who are contributing to just what Mr. Mueller-Stahl was talking about, and people who are not. Which side are you on?

  76. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Only 3 beers? I am disappoint!

    ETA: Points to Joe for using “imbroglio” in a sentence. Must be his frequent use of “insomnia” that tipped him off. 😉

  77. R. says:

    “the funniest thing about posting here and the thing that amuses those who know me no end is the accusation of RAAAAGE (a misinterpretation of my wildly-emphatic, opinionated, sarcastic, no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners, say exactly what i think style, i guess)”

    It amuses me that you it amuses you that people are misinterpreting your words.

  78. Joe Leydon says:

    Foamy: I sleep but I don’t rest.

  79. Foamy Squirrel says:

    I have a mallet that can cure that for you. Gratis.

  80. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Wow… from the lyrics, if you’re going through some tough times I hope it’ll be okay for you soon.

    …on the other hand, if you’re planning on going on a heartbreaking spree be sure to let us in on the gossip. 😉

  81. leahnz says:

    joe: re: your meuller-stahl comment, that eerily sums up everything i’ve been feeling/trying to articulate exactly (hope you just dig lambert’s song and yer not down in the dumps)

    foamy: ELEPHANT beers, man

    R: it amuses me that you can’t read, apparently. i said people may be misinterpreting my STYLE, not words. and it’s even more amusing you’re insinuating I’M misinterpreting anything rather than you, ego tripper. i’ve been watching LVT make an ass himself for years, no misinterpreting his style IN THE SLIGHTEST for me at least, it’s crystal. not misinterpreting his words, either. are you?

    oh, but continue to comment EXCLUSIVELY ABOUT ME, R, rather than on topic, you’ve been here (in this incarnation at least) for what, 5 minutes, and you’re already proving a predictable, obsessive, pretentious crashing bore who makes little sense and hilariously thinks you can set me straight on things you clearly don’t know shit about. kudos

  82. yancyskancy says:

    What kills threads like this (in terms of actual interest, at least) is that they devolve into boring back-and-forth sniping about how we’re all entitled to our opinions, rather than simple, respectful consideration of said opinions. We’re all interpreting the same words and expressions, extrapolating here and assuming there. Without being in LvT’s head, that’s the best we can do. I never understand the animosity that bubbles up in these situations.

  83. Foamy Squirrel says:

    First you play down your alcohol consumption, and now you play it up? MAKE UP YOUR MIND, WOMAN! 😉

  84. R. says:

    Leanhz how something is said determines how it is received. Style and intent are not so easily centrifuged. As you are not a moron, this should be no revelation to you.

    You said LVT had not even said he was joking in his apology. He had already, multiple times. I can’t take your claims seriously to understand his words with crystal clarity if you don’t know what they are. Perhaps you could look up the 4 or five interviews he’s done since the press conference for further information. they are a small number of clicks away.

    Have to say it is fun watching you flail around in your wildly-emphatic, opinionated, sarcastic, no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners, say exactly what i think, do no research style. Telling us what people you don’t know THINK, regardless of how many other things they say contradict it. You did it in the James Cameron thread. And that was that. Then you did the same thing here, and it magically became funny. You want to know why I picked you to respond to: that’s the why.

    Its interesting you assumed I was from America too, and not Europe. Interesting, and incorrect. It’s also interesting that you think I am other people posting here. This is also incorrect. (Unless it’s me from the future, which would be kind of weird….)


    P.S. I apologize for calling you a moron earlier. That was uncalled for. It was a joke… and that’s kind of the point. I look forward to your creative interpretation of the above.

  85. leahnz says:

    aw joe, you sound like you’re really hurting, you’ve lost someone close to you? my beloved gran died a while ago now and i miss her terribly, she was just love to me – no expectations or disappointments, just comfort, laughter and joy in the moment. that saying, “time heals all wounds” isn’t really true in my experience, time doesn’t heal a thing, but its passage slowly dulls the pain to where it’s more bearable, and if possible we do what we can to heal ourselves in the meantime (i know that probably won’t help but here’s wishing you the strength to work through the pain and find some solace on the other side, sometimes that’s all we can hope for)

    damn it foamy, it’s a delicate balancing act trying to have one’s cake and eat it, too

  86. LYT says:

    “I don’t recall that you have ever accused IO or LexG of expressing allegiance to a “cult,” not even the obscene cult of fanboyism or the cult of HOT SQUACK.”

    Lex and IO have both been banned at times, though. Is that better than being called names?

  87. David Poland says:

    Joe hits my issue right on the head, so I will stick to that for a moment.

    Yes. This is exactly the same ridiculous response that you had to the Speed Racer thing. The meaning of the image is reduced to “a joke David thinks is funny” and the weight on the other side increased to a sacred cow.

    Getting enraged about using that image to make a comment on people wildly overreacting to a movie actually makes my point. Critics reacted like they were at war, all of a sudden, and had to shoot the film in the head. Conversely, I felt it was a crime against someone’s right of creation to deliver such thoughtless, near-permanent punishment.

    Turning Von Trier’s choice to joke about himself as “a Nazi” on the context of someone asking a question and him trying speak to being raised thinking he was a Jew and then finding out her was not, he was German, into a treatise on neo-Nazism in Europe is lefty fascism, in my view. It’s low hanging fruit, further lowered by shoddy reporting and an incomplete idea of what he said. When confronted with context, after having hung the guy, some people go, “Oh, didn’t realize he’d been asked a question that brought “Nazi” into it and he didn’t initiate it” and others double down and find reasons why LvT is an even bigger boogey man.

    So now, Joe, we have reached the “Never Forget” moment in this teapot tempest. With all respect, are you fucking kidding me. You want to condemn Von Trier for remembering because it trivializes the past and therefore it will be forgotten?

    And the German and French sensitivity to Nazism and their national complicity (at best) should lead to the silencing of contrary or satiric voices? Look in the dictionary next to “irony”…

    Of course, there does remain one good excuse for these wild overreactions… the media’s dumbing down of the actual exchange to “I am a Nazi” as though it was the end of Malcolm X, offered with pride and encouragement. If that’s all you knew, shouting the man down would be understandable… though banning him is still missing the point of freedom of speech… at a film festival.

    But honestly… this is a big domino in The Domino Effect?

    Do you now or have you ever used the word “Nazi” without bowing your head and praying for the 12 million lost souls?

    And how are we going to connect bin Laden’s porn stash to 9/11? Obviously masturbation is a gateway to demand for 72 virgins in heaven for suicide bombers.

    “You have no sense of humor” is clearly untrue of Leah… but no sense of perspective? That’s my real issue here. I am fine with a disagreement, but to have a real one, we need to be having the same point of issue. But the position of what LvT’s sin here is has gotten so out of hand, there is little basis for a real discussion.

    As for Lars’ history, I have long held that he argues that women are victims by victimizing them. This is why I was dismissive of much of his earler work. My sense is that he has matured a lot in more recent work. But he carries the stigma (or stigmata, as he might prefer… call a language cop!) of his filmic history, so Anti-Christ gets seen through the prism of his earlier abuse of female characters. Unfair, but understandable.

    The anti-American press conference for Dogville… I now question the reporting of that event, as the reporting of this was so sloppy. But even assuming the press got it right, the movie was not evidence of anti-Americanism… unless Our Town is so American in your perception that subverting it makes you anti-American. (He swore he never saw or read the show… which had to be a lie.) Still, he kinda asked for it.

    Still… is there anything less “American” than silencing someone… banning them over speech? There’s a long way from profiling at airports to set off a second search and not letting people in Muslim garb get on planes, no? I don’t think many of us think the latter is ok… and the discussion over the former is one that can be had by honest people with honest ideas. LvT just got banned from a major festival for mouthing off, not for being a Nazi, acting like a Nazi, or endorsing the ideas of the Nazis.

    If there is anything that makes the world safer from the Hitlers, it’s not just never forgetting, it’s understanding. And understanding requires some empathy. There are hundreds of theories about what drove Hitler and why he went from using Jews as a rhetorical focus to trying to eliminate the race.

    There are also plenty fo theories about why Israel is in the West Bank, which is part of what some see as a genocide. Conversely, what drives Palestinian suicide bombers? Some see it as a natural outgrowth of Israeli force.

    Me? I don’t get the guy in Encinitas who pulls out a loaded gun to rob a liquor store and kills someone. Murder. As an option. Don’t get it.

    How can we spend time trying to keep gays from marrying? How can we go another year without election finance reform? Why aren’t 75% of cars manufactured and sold in the US hybrids, at least? Etc, etc, etc.

    But Lars needs to be put in his place for relighting the torch fo Nazism at Cannes. Great. Artists silencing artists. Great moment. But I guess that’s another myth… that the big festivals are about art first anymore and not about funding.


  88. Joe Leydon says:

    My apologies for turning a bit maudlin right before turning in last night. Right in the middle of our exchange of ideas, I was suddenly reminded of an anniversary. Something that, unfortunately, is never far from my thoughts, but has absolutely nothing to do with what we were debating. Blame it on a casual glance at a calendar, and the shock of recognition. I don’t want to pull a Newt Gingrich, but please disregard the music cues. Again, sorry for interrupting the conversation.

  89. tom says:

    Lars von Trier gets a pass because hes a jew failing in making a nazi joke at the same time trying to talk about his appreciation of the nazi aestetichs and architecture, while at the same trying to say something about humans inherited evil that under the right circumstances can turn everyone into another nazi or another Hitler, therefore, understanding Hitler is understanding the human species and the evil that lurkes within us.

    That subject is basically what all of Von Triers movies are about.

    As he said himself, “all people have 5% nazi in them and all nazis have 5% human in them”

    That was his point which he failed so miserably to deliver.

  90. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Derailing a conversation? On the Hotblog? Why, I’ve never heard of such a thing! 😉

  91. hcat says:

    Someone earlier called Biers a hack? I find that to be much more awful than anything LVT said.

  92. samguy says:

    Has anyone notice that this has got Von Trier more media attention than any of his movies?

  93. R. says:

    samguy has anyone not noticed?

  94. Philip Hodel says:

    It is really a great and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon