Danish bad boy Lars von Trier came to Berlin today for the world premiere of the director’s cut of Nymphomaniac, Vol. 1. He maintained his vow to refrain from all public statements, and did not attend the press conference. But he had a message, nevertheless. At the photo call preceding the Nymphomaniac panel, the helmer sported a t-shirt emblazoned with the Cannes Film Festival logo followed by the words “Persona Non Grata, Official Selection.” The sartorial choice was a nod to 2011 when von Trier was dubbed a persona non grata by Cannes for Nazi-flavored comments he made at a press conference for Melancholia. Shia LaBeouf, a Nymphomaniac co-star who’s had his own share of controversial headlines of late, answered no questions but offered up a cryptic comment: “When the seagulls follow the trawler it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.” With that, he said, “Thank you very much” and left the dais. (The quote was originally uttered by former Manchester United footballer Eric Cantona at a 1995 press conference after he won an appeal against a two-week prison sentence for kicking an abusive fan.) The room was temporarily stunned as nervous laughter filtered through – including from the actors still assembled: Uma Thurman, Christian Slater, Stellan Skarsgård and Stacy Martin. More seriously, Thurman called working with von Trier, “One of the best days of my life.” Slater said he was “patient and gentle… You kind of want to do anything for him.” Skarsgård, the director’s long-time collaborator, commented, “It’s easier to work with him than with most directors… He’s a very funny man. You’ve got to learn to laugh at him a lot more.” To a query about whether the uncut Nymphomaniac Vol. 2 will be shown in Cannes, producer Louise Vesth said, “We don’t say that yet… You saw the t-shirt.”
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