Danish filmmaker is accused of violating French law against justifying war crimes
Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier announced Wednesday that he had been questioned by police in Denmark over his controversial comments at the Cannes film festival, and the interrogation has prompted him to cease all interviews from now on.
"Today at 2 p.m. I was questioned by the Police of North Zealand in connection with charges made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes," von Trier's statement reads. "The investigation covers comments made during the press conference in Cannes in May 2011."
Von Trier admitted in the statement that the questioning had given him cold feet when it comes to speaking out in public, and he will no longer do so.
"Due to these serious accusations I have realized that I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally and I have therefore decided from this day forth to refrain from all public statements and interviews."
Von Trier raised eyebrows in May, when he told reporters that he sympathizes with Adolf Hitler.
"I think I understand the man. He’s not what I would call a good guy, but I understand much about him, and I sympathize with him a little," von Trier said. "But come on – I’m not for the Second World War. And I’m not against Jews – Susanne Biers, no not even Susanne Bier (that was also a joke). I am of course very much for Jews."
Von Trier dug himself in even deeper when he tried to extricate from the growing outrage with an ill-considered attempt at humor.
“Now how can I get out of this sentence?" von Triere "joked." "Okay. I’m a Nazi.”
Von Trier, who was promoting his film "Melancholia," subsequently apologized, after officials at Cannes issued a strongly worded statement saying they were "disturbed" by von Trier's comments.
"If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize," von Trier said. "I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi."