CANNES, France, May 18 (UPI) -- Controversial Danish director Lars von Trier joked about his family's Nazi roots at a Cannes film festival press conference promoting his film, "Melancholia."
Von Trier's film credits include "Breaking the Waves," "Dancer in the Dark," "Dogville" and "Manderlay." His latest movie stars Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
The Hollywood Reporter said the filmmaker, who is known for his dark humor, was asked about his Germanic roots at a Cannes news conference Wednesday and responded to the surprise of the journalists, Dunst and Gainsbourg: "For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew, then I met [Danish and Jewish director] Susanne Bier and I wasn't so happy. But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family were German. And that also gave me some pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler … I sympathize with him a bit."
Von Trier went on to say: "I don't mean I'm in favor of World War II and I'm not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier. ... In fact, I'm very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain in the ass but …Now how can I get out of this sentence? OK. I'm a Nazi."
Queried later about whether he would like to make a film on a larger scale, he replied: "Yes. We Nazis like to do things on a big scale. Maybe I could do 'The Final Solution,' " The Hollywood Reporter said.