Lars von Trier Won't Be Tried Over Nazi Comments, Says French Prosecutor

Tue Dec 6, 2011 7:46am EST

French authorities who filed charges against director Lars von Trier no longer plan to prosecute him for remarks he made about Nazis at a Cannes Film Festival press conference in May.

"In my clear opinion von Trier should not be prosecuted," Grasse public prosecutor Jean-Michel Cailleau told the Danish daily Politiken earlier this week. 

Cailleau said his recommendation to drop the charges had been forwarded to the French Ministry of Justice, which would make its final decision within a couple of weeks.

Also read: Cannes Film Festival Bans Lars Von Trier After Nazi Comments, Von Trier Responds

In a subsequent report, the Hollywood Reporter claimed the case had been officially closed.

In August, Grasse authorities had charged von Trier with violating a French law that prohibits anyone from justifying war crimes by "glorifying, praising or at least presenting the crimes in question favorably."

The crime carried a possible sentence of five years in jail.

Also read: 'Melancholia': the Lars von Trier Movie for People Who Hate Lars von Trier Movies

At Cannes, von Trier joked about learning that he had German ancestry. 

"I found out I was actually a Nazi," he said. "My family was German … which gave me some pleasure. I understand Hitler. He certainly did some wrong things, but I can imagine him sitting in his bunker toward the end … Now how can I get out of this sentence. OK, I'm a Nazi." 

After the press conference, von Trier was declared persona non grata by Cannes officials. In October, he was interviewed by Danish police at the behest of the Grasse authorities, who subsequently decided not to pursue the case.

The day he was interviewed by police, von Trier issued a release in which he vowed to no longer make any public statements.

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

Kirsten Dunst was named Best Actress at Cannes for von Trier's film "Melancholia." On Saturday, the film won the top prize at the European Film Awards.

Related Articles:  Cannes Film Festival Bans Lars Von Trier After Nazi Comments, Von Trier Responds 'Melancholia' Tops European Film Awards

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