Lars Von Trier traveled all the way to Cannes and probably already paid for the room, so obviously a little ban from the festival over a few Hitler remarks isn’t going to make him pack it in so quickly. (Even though the firestorm is currently so bad, he can't even get served in some restaurants.) The director spent the day talking to reporters about his being named “persona non grata” in typically jovial terms, saying he was “very proud… I’ve never been that before in my life, and that suits me extremely well. I should be carried around in a little cage with something in my mouth and shown to the press.” Clearly enjoying being a martyr, he even added a little sadomasochism worthy of his movies to the proceedings, telling a group of assembled reporters, “If any of you would like to hit me, you're perfectly welcome. I must warn you that I might enjoy it.”
But even if Von Trier took some obvious pleasure in his being “known for provocations”—and seemed to relish that this may prove to be his most provocative moment of all—he also acknowledged that, yes, maybe the Nazi jokes weren’t a good idea, saying, “I like provocations when they have a purpose. And this had no purpose whatsoever.” He sounded even more abashed while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, calling what he said “completely stupid” and lamenting that it would be “a pity if it means I will lose contact with Cannes” because of it.
Still, he’s not all pain and penitence: Von Trier also says he believes that it will be Cannes’ loss if they don’t accept his future films (“Even if I was Hitler and I made a great film, Cannes should select it”), and although he took pains to clarify that he thinks “the Holocaust is the worst crime against humanity that I can remember” and that he is not, in fact, Hitler, he couldn’t help getting in one more swipe that may well double the backlash, saying, “I believe that it’s an especially delicate subject down here, because the French have a history of being extremely cruel to the Jews." Ha… ha?
And then, as the entertainment reporting world has already been doing for him pretty much since the story broke, Von Trier compared himself to a certain other filmmaker accused of anti-Semitism who’s currently walking around the Riviera: “I’m not Mel Gibson. I’m definitely not Mel Gibson.” Of course not. If you were Mel Gibson, you’d know by the standing ovations.