Lars von Trier Named Persona Non Grata in Cannes After Hitler Remarks

Lars von Trier - Cannes Film Festival - 2011
Francois Guillot/Getty Images

The director called himself a Nazi and expressed sympathy for Hitler at "Melancholia" press conference Wednesday.

CANNES -- The Cannes Film Festival has officially declared Lars Von Trier a persona non grata, effective immediately, after the controversial Danish director called himself a Nazi and expressed sympathy for Hitler at a press conference on Wednesday. 

Von Trier has since apologized for the remarks, claiming he was provoked by journalists. But on Thursday, the Cannes Festival's board of directors held a meeting and voted to ban von Trier from the Festival. STORY: Lars von Trier Admits to Being a Nazi, Understanding Hitler

"The Festival de Cannes provides artists from around the world with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation," the Festival said in a statement. "The board of directors profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the festival. The Board of Directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately."

It is unclear if Von Trier's ban will be lifelong or if the director can rehabilitate himself. The Cannes Festival office refused to comment beyond its statement. This is the first time in recent memory that Cannes has blacklisted a director. STORY: ADL Speaks Out Against Lars von Trier's Nazi Comments (Exclusive)

It is all the more astounding because von Trier is one of Cannes' favorite auteurs. Melancholia marks his ninth appearance in Cannes Competition. He has won the festival's top prize for Dancer in the Dark in 2000, and has twice taken the runner-up Jury Prize for Europa (1991) and Breaking the Waves (1996).

Rebecca Leffler contributed to this report.