Charges Against Lars Von Trier Over Cannes Statements Dropped (Exclusive)

9:50 AM PST 12/06/2011 by Rebecca Leffler
P34/Zuma Press/Newscom

A prosecutor told THR that the case against the Danish film director had been officially closed.

It’s not the end of the world for Danish director Lars Von Trier with the Grasse public prosecutor’s office officially dropping defamation charges against the outspoken filmmaker just after his Melancholia won the Best Film prize at the European Film Awards over the weekend.

Grasse’s public prosecutor Jean-Michel Cailleau told The Hollywood Reporter that "the case has been officially closed" and that authorities won't press charges against Von Trier. 

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Authorities in Grasse had officially charged Von Trier with “justifying war crimes” in August punishable by up to five years in jail.

"There was no intention on the part of Mr. Von Trier to commit the act of 'justifying war crimes'," Cailleau said. He added: "He expressed himself in a language that wasn't his own and also under very stressful circumstances."

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Von Trier infamously told journalists at this year’s Festival de 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.”

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While the Festival de Cannes declared Von Trier persona non grata at the fest, Melancholia saw its lead actress Kirsten Dunst take the Best Actress prize at the festival. 

Despite dropping the charges, Cailleau said, "We were of course shocked by his words, and it was natural for the associations involved to react as they did."

Cailleau added: "We received the sincerest apologies and don't wish to proceed further in this matter."

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