Grasse authorities recommend von Trier charges to be dropped
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
05/12/2011 - Not only did his Melancholia [trailer, film focus] win the European Film Award for Best Feature (read more) in Berlin Saturday (December 3), Danish director Lars von Trier is also likely to avoid further court action following his Nazi remarks at the press conference following the film was screened in competition at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival.
The local authorities in Grasse, which officially charged him for violating French law in August and had him interrogated by Danish police in October, are ready to drop the case. Von Trier was accused of justifying war crimes, ie ”glorifying, praising, or at least presenting the crimes in question favourably.” The offence carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail.
”In my clear opinion von Trier should not be prosecuted,” public prosecutor Jean-Michel Cailleau told Danish daily Politiken. Cailleau has forwarded his recommendation to the French Ministry of Justice, which will make the final decision within a couple of weeks.
The Danish director told journalists in Cannes: ”I really wanted to be a Jew, then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family was German, Hartmann, which also gave me some pleasure. I understand Hitler, he certainly did some wrong things, but I can imagine him sitting in his bunker towards the end…now how can I get out of this sentence? OK, I’m a Nazi.”
“It is a very sensitive case as it deals with racial discrimination and crimes against humanity, which is also the reason why it will be evaluated by the Ministry of Justice,” explained Cailleau. Von Trier’s Danish lawyer Tyge Trier would not comment on the latest development.
Meanwhile Melancholia, which won for Best Actress (Kirsten Dunst) in Cannes in spite of the director being declared persona non grata by the festival, is a critical and commercial success for Zentropa Entertainments. According to Box Office Mojo, the Meta Louise Foldager-Louise Vesth production has grossed $10 million abroad, mostly in Germany, France and the US.