Thursday, 6 October 2011

Lars Von Trier: Rainbow Warrior

Received the following press statement yesterday:

Today at 2 pm 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. The investigation covers comments made during the press conference in Cannes in May 2011. 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.

Lars von Trier
Avedøre, 5. October 2011

All I can say is, what a nonsense. No way is Lars Von Trier a "Nazi", let alone a "war criminal". I refer you to my recent Sunday Times interview (posted elsewhere on this blog) — possibly, if he is true to his word, one of his last; certainly the final UK exclusive. At best (or worst) Von Trier is guilty of a poorly transmitted sense of humour. 

Methinks the French doth protest too much. While Germany has laid itself bare regarding its war guilt, France has clung to a national narrative pinned to the unquestionably heroic but minority French Resistance (what was it Jacques Chirac said regarding the snub to British representation at the 60th anniversary of D-Day? "France liberated herself"). France's role as a victorious power in WW2 is based largely on a myth, promulgated for reasons of political expediency as Europe braced for the Cold War — one that has whitewashed Vichy, ignores the fact that France actually fought the Allies in Africa and the Middle East and that it was complicit in Nazi genocide. These are facts.

France is a tremendous country and we should be the firmest of friends and neighbours, but unless it yanks out those skeletons rattling in its cupboard, there's always going to be suspicion. If it were confident in itself (much of the South is still Le Pen-ite, remember), it surely wouldn't feel threatened by the clumsy remarks of a Danish film director.

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