Danish director Lars Von Trier is well-known for being a cynical son of a bitch at his best, and an outright misanthrope at his worst, yet he still keeps getting funding for his films. We could speculate all day about why that might be, but instead we’ll just relay the news that von Trier is negotiating a return to the Cannes Film Festival to screen his new project, the serial-killer drama The House That Jack Built. This is after Von Trier was banned indefinitely from the festival in 2011 for saying, “I understand Hitler. He did some wrong things, absolutely, but I can see him sitting there in his bunker at the end … I sympathize with him, yes, a little bit,” as a horrified Kirsten Dunst looked on at a press conference for his film Melancholia.
Von Trier, in typical Lars Von Trier fashion, was quite proud of himself for the ban, retracting his initial apology for his comments and even making T-shirts trumpeting his “persona non grata” status that he wore to the premiere of Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 at the Berlin Film Festival in 2014. (You can see the shirt in question above.) Yet, his contacts at the festival seem willing to forgive and forget, clucking their tongues and saying, “Lars will be Lars,” with a shrug in between bites of stinky French cheese aboard their yachts. At least, that’s how we picture it.
Starring Matt Dillon as a serial killer in ‘70s America, The House That Jack Built follows Dillion’s ”Jack” over a decade-long murder spree, with Uma Thurman, Sofie Gråbøl of the Danish version of The Killing, and Riley Keough as a few of his victims. Von Trier promised at a press conference in Sweden this week that Jack will slaughter a few men in the film, too—“That’s not correct. But it could’ve been if I didn’t read through and put a few men in,” he says, in response to a question about Jack only killing women—so maybe he is making some sort of progress. We’ll find out next year, when The House That Jack Built “maybe” premieres at Cannes.