The Cannes Film Festival announced on April 19 that Danish director Lars von Trier will return to the event this year for the first time since he was expelled in 2011 for saying he “sympathized” with Hitler.
Festival president Pierre Lescure decided to “welcome back” the Danish director, though his film will not be eligible for awards, according to a festival press release.
His film “The House That Jack Built” will screen outside the official competition.
His musical production “Dancer in the Dark” in 2000 won the Palme d’Or, the highest award at the festival and one of the most prestigious prizes in the French film industry. But Icelandic singer Bjork has since alleged that von Trier sexually harassed her during her performance. Von Trier has denied the claims.
Von Trier’s new film “The House That Jack Built,” which stars Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman, follows the life of a serial killer.
Von Trier’s ban from Cannes was due to comments he made during a press conference for his 2011 film “Melancholia,” which starred American actress Kirsten Dunst.
“I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out that I was really a Nazi,” he said when asked about his German heritage.
“I’m just saying that I think I understand the man. He’s not what you would call a good guy, but, yeah, I understand much about him, and I sympathize with him a little bit.”
Later that day, von Trier issued a statement of apology, insisting he was neither anti-Semitic nor a Nazi.
Many cinema professionals, especially in France, felt the Danish director had gone too far and backed the festival board’s decision to exclude von Trier.
This year’s festival runs from May 8 to 19 at the French Riviera resort.