Lars Von Trier Releases a Surprising Statement
Danish director Lars Von Trier has been known for courting controversy at the Cannes Film Festival since the start of his career in the '80s. Every feature film he ever made premiered at Cannes and the mischievous filmmaker always made some sort of outrageous statement at his premiere or press conference to stir up publicity. It was always in good fun and with a wink to the crowd.
However, this year the guy went too far when trying to make a joke about his tyrannical reputation. He claimed to sympathize with Hitler and while there’s no denying that the joke was in bad taste, it was a joke nonetheless and one that he admitted had perhaps gone a bit too far while saying it. Unfortunately, Cannes is an international hotspot for press and now that he works with American movie stars like Kirsten Dunst the guy gets a lot of attention. Von Trier’s poorly timed joke sparked the most intense controversy of his career and rather suddenly he found himself banned from Cannes.
That’s not the end of the story either. Apparently the French police force and government officials took the matter even more seriously than the press, leading Von Trier to release the following statement:
Today at 2pm I was questioned by the Police of North Zealand in connection with charges made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes.
The investigation covers comments made during the press conference in Cannes in May 2011. Due to these serious accusations I have realized that I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally and I have therefore decided from this day forth to refrain from all public statements and interviews.
Now, I won’t pretend what Von Trier said back in Cannes wasn’t a little out of line; however, a police investigation for what was little more than a bad joke seems like a bit much. Von Trier should be free to say whatever he wants like any other human being and the fact that he will never speak in public again is ridiculous. He’s not a Nazi sympathizer, he’s a filmmaker, and if artists, of all people, aren’t allowed to express themselves freely, then who is? Let’s just hope he doesn’t stop making movies as well.
The Next James Bond Movie Gets a Title
The next James Bond movie is currently rolling right along, promising to return Daniel Craig to his ass-kicking ways and placing him in a story that actually makes sense unlike, say, Quantum Of Solace. This time Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) will be behind the camera for reasons best known to himself and the official title was revealed today.
The next James Bond movie will be called — wait for it — Skyfall. Yep, I’m not sure what that means either but at least it’s got an action movie punch to it. Unlike the ridiculous title of the last movie, it’s the kind of title that will roll off the tongue of a gravelly voiceover artist smoothly on the trailer.
Nothing has been revealed about the story just yet, but I’ve got a feeling that Bond is going to foil an international world domination plot and hook up with a lovely lady. I’ll bet he even gets a couple of fancy spy gadgets along the way. Don’t ask me how I know these things, I just do.
The Simpsons Is Coming to a Close
Finally, this isn’t really movie news, but it is the death of a cultural touchstone and impossible to ignore. After 23 groundbreaking years on television, it appears that The Simpsons will be closing up shop.
The voice cast is currently in the middle of tense contract negotiations with FOX and it seems like the studio is officially giving up. A FOX executive recently released a statement claiming that The Simpsons is no longer profitable for the network (come on, give me a f***ing break!) and unless the voice cast agrees to cut their salary in half and give up their merchandising rights, the show will be sent out to pasture. That seems unlikely, but even if they agree to do that, it will only extend the series to one more final season. The actors have until tomorrow to respond and if they decline the new terms, this season of The Simpsons will be the last.
It’s a bit of a shock to be sure, especially since the show was only two years away from a 25-year run, which would seem like a nice round number to end it all on. Nothing is official yet, but it looks like The Simpsons will die out over the next couple of years. The show hasn’t been at its best for a few years now, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, it’ll definitely be the end of an era.
Fortunately die-hard Simpsons fans out there can guarantee that the series will live on in re-runs for decades. FOX is even discussing launching a 24-hour-a-day all-Simpsons channel after the current syndication deals expire, so you’ll always have something to watch. Let’s just hope that the Simpsons writing staff has a chance to pull together an appropriately epic series finale. It’s going to be one of the highest viewed events in television history, so hopefully they’ll end it right.