Lars Von Trier vows to remain silent

Lars Von Trier Lars Von Trier has denied that he sympathises with the Nazis

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Danish film-maker Lars Von Trier has vowed to stop speaking in public after he was questioned by police following comments he made about Adolf Hitler.

The Melancholia director was probed about breaking French law after remarks made at the Cannes Film Festival.

In a statement he said he realises he does not "possess the skills to express myself unequivocally".

Von Trier added that from now on he will "refrain from all public statements and interviews".

In May he was expelled from the French film gala after he told a press conference that he sympathised with the dictator.

"I understand Hitler, but I think he did some wrong things, yes absolutely, but I can see him sitting in his bunker," he said.

"I think I understand the man, He's not what you would call a good guy, but I understand much about him and I sympathise with him."

In a statement afterwards organisers of the festival declared the film-maker "persona non grata".

Von Trier accepted the punishment, but issued a statement saying he was not anti-Semitic, racially prejudiced or a Nazi.

Actress Kirsten Dunst, who was with Von Trier in Cannes to promote Melancholia, told The Guardian that footage of the press conference was hard to watch back.

"You could see my face. I was choking, because I'm watching a friend having a meltdown. And what he's saying is horrendous in a roomful of press.

"He was asked an inappropriate question and his response was to make a joke about it. But no one laughed and he just kept unravelling."

If he sticks to his promise, one of the director's last interviews will have been with Radio 3's Night Waves programme.

Over forty minutes, Von Trier discussed how his childhood fear of atomic war had informed his career, and said The Night Porter, in which Dirk Bogarde plays a former concentration camp officer, had been a major influence on his film-making.

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