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Kirsten Dunst Stands By Her Director Man

Lars Von Trier‘s “shocking” behavior has become a Cannes Film Festival tradition almost as much as the unrolling of a red carpet or attention seeking women posing topless for the scores of paparazzi that descend on the event every year. In 2009, the press conference for his film Antichrist, devolved into a yelling and screaming match between several journalists and the director, who was irritated at some of the pointed questions that were asked. At this year’s festival, during the press conference for his film Melancholia Von Trier took the opportunity to tell a captive audience of journalists:

I understand Hitler.

The consequences were swift. Von Trier was banned from the festival and the Danish film company, TrustNordisk, that financed the movie has had to offer refunds to various distributors including the Israeli based Shani Films, due to the fact that in the same rant, Von Trier called Israel, “a pain in the butt.” Not everyone has shunned the Danish director. Kirsten Dunst, the star of Melancholia, who sat uncomfortably by the director’s side during the now infamous press conference, has defended Von Trier’s actions. The actress, who won the Best Actress prize at Cannes for her role in the film, told London’s Evening Standard:

He says dumb stuff sometimes but not anything I had ever been offended by. It just came out wrong, that’s not Lars at all. He was trying to make people laugh by telling the story of his life but it was not the right audience for it. He doesn’t speak English that often, he’s been in Denmark for a long time. It just didn’t translate well. I was upset, shocked and angry but, at the end of the day, he is still my friend.

After the incident, Von Trier seems to have belatedly realized that he is unable to conduct an uneventful press conference. In an interview with Indiewire, he said:

The force in me that makes me say and do stupid things—I get overexcited—also allows me to make my kind of films. I can tell you one thing: I will never do a press conference again.

Posted below is a clip of the press conference itself and an interview conducted by the LA Times shortly after, in which Von Trier apologizes. The laughter that follows each of Von Trier’s outrageous statements makes it seem that the gathered journalists were in on the joke. If the directing thing doesn’t work out, Von Trier could always start a second career as a Sarah Silverman-esque shock comic. Based on the excellent reviews of Melanch0lia though, I think he should stick to what he does best.

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