Lars von Trier questioned by police over Hitler remarks

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Lars von Trier questioned by police over Hitler remarks


COPENHAGEN - Danish director Lars von Trier said Wednesday Danish police had questioned him on French charges relating to his controversial remarks at the Cannes Film Festival about Adolf Hitler.

A French prosecutor told AFP however that no such charges exist.

“I was today at 2 p.m. questioned by North Zealand police regarding a preliminary charge from the prosecutor in Grasse in France in August 2011, on a possible contravention of French law against the glorification of war crimes,” von Trier said in a statement.

“As a result of this serious indictment I must infer that I do not have the capacity to express myself unambiguously. I have therefore decided that from today I will refrain from all public statements,” he said.

But French prosecutor Jean-Michel Cailleau explained that the filmmaker had not been yet charged. Von Trier’s statements “are not coherent,” he said, clarifying that a prosecutor cannot issue an indictment until a court has assessed the pretrial investigation.

French authorities have been in contact with their Danish counterparts regarding von Trier’s remarks, and a decision has not yet been made on how to proceed, he said.

“In this case, they can prosecute, just as we can prosecute. My decision has not been made. If the Danish say that have the ability, we will not prosecute,” he said, clarifying that in France, he would face charges of “defending a war crime.”

At a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival, Von Trier said he sympathized “a little bit” with Hitler. “I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out that I was really a Nazi,” he said, referring to his mother’s deathbed revelation that his biological father was actually German. “I understand Hitler. I think he did some wrong things, yes absolutely, but I can see him sitting in his bunker in the end.”

Later in the day, von Trier issued a statement of apology, adding: “I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi.”

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