April 19, 2018 / 3:56 PM / 5 months ago

Bad-boy Von Trier returns to Cannes, 7 years after being expelled

LONDON (Reuters) - Danish director Lars Von Trier will present a movie at Cannes next month for the first time since he was thrown out of the film festival seven years ago for saying he was a Nazi who sympathized with Adolf Hitler.

FILE PHOTO: Director Lars Von Trier (L) and cast member Kirsten Dunst attend a news conference for the film "Melancholia", in competition at the 64th Cannes Film Festival, May 18, 2011. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

The festival confirmed on Thursday that Von Trier would screen his serial killer movie "The House That Jack Built", marking the return of the one-time art-house darling who became persona non grata after his comments at Cannes in 2011.

In a now notorious news conference after the screening of "Melancholia", Von Trier rambled about wanting to be a Jew, but finding out he was "really a Nazi because my family was German".

As his leading actress Kirsten Dunst squirmed next to him, he went on: "I understand Hitler... And I sympathize with him a little bit yes ... I am of course very much for Jews. No not too much because Israel is a pain in the ass ..."

Von Trier was banned from attending the rest of the festival, but Dunst went on to win best actress for her role in "Melancholia", the dark portrayal of a cosmic collision that ends all life.

The director apologized for his remarks and later told Reuters: "I think that I'm talking to my friends back at the cafe and suddenly I find out, of course, that I'm talking to the world which are not amused."

Asked at the time if he would return to Cannes, Von Trier, who won the festival's top prize in 2000 for "Dancer in the Dark" replied: "I don’t know if I will be allowed in the Palais (festival center) again. Maybe Cannes has pushed me out to be more of a rebel.”

"The House That Jack Built", starring Uma Thurman and Matt Dillon, will screen out-of-competition in the festival that runs May 8-19.

Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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