The French Need to Get Their Priorities Straight
Back in May, Danish director Lars Von Trier caused a stir at the Cannes film festival when he made an unfunny joke about Hitler. Now apparently he is being questioned by police for breaking a French law:
Danish film director Lars von Trier has vowed to keep his mouth shut following a visit by Danish police this afternoon at his home in Denmark. Danish police quizzed Von Trier at 6am PST about possibly breaking French law, which forbids justifying war crimes. Von Trier caused a storm during this year’s Cannes Film Festival when he said he had some sympathy for Adolf Hitler. Although he was trying to be funny, the joke backfired and led to European distributors to ditch his latest film, Melancholia. “He’s a human being and a man with a family, and he wants to avoid further visits from anybody. He’s entirely fed up,” his spokesman tells me. Here’s Von Trier’s statement:
To me, this is pretty ridiculous. Look, obviously the holocaust and World War II are not a laughing matter, but it’s pretty clear that Lars Von Trier meant no harm. Furthermore, as repulsive as war crimes are, speaking about them, in any way, should not be a crime in any country that aspires to be a civilized democracy (also, you know who didn’t like free speech? Hitler).
This all strikes me as extra pathetic considering that convicted child rapist Roman Polanski continues to roam the French countryside, free as a bird, and has no problem getting his films distributed. Considering that Polanski is actually a convicted criminal who has been on the lam for decades and all Von Trier did was choose his words poorly, this is an amazing double standard. Get your priorities straight France.