A Danish director, whose violent film may have inspired Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, has engaged in a war of words with politicians from the far-right Danish People’s Party (DF) over who may have influenced the mass murderer most.
Lars von Trier, whose film Dogville was listed on Breivik’s Facebook profile as one of his favourites, said the leader of DF, Pia Kjaersgaard, also needs to accept some responsibility.
In an interview with Politiken, von Trier, who retracted infamous comments he made at the Cannes Film Festival about how he is more of a Nazi than a Jew, said it is “horrific” to think that his 2003 film, which climaxes with a massacre in an American town, may have played a part in the double terror attacks in Norway. On 22nd July, 32 year-old far right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in an Oslo bomb attack and a subsequent mass shooting at an island youth camp.
“I feel terribly bad thinking that Dogville, which is in my eyes one of my most successful films, could have been a kind of script for him,” von Trier told Politiken. “My intention with Dogville was totally opposite; namely to examine whether we can accept a protagonist who takes revenge on an entire town. And here I completely distance myself from the revenge,” he added.
The filmmaker, however, also claimed that DF should accept some liability due to their “Islam-fright” and “foreigner hostility”, blaming leader Pia Kjaersgaard in particular for enhancing racial prejudices. “One must demand that Kjaersgaard step forward and take her share of the responsibility for what happened in Norway,” he told the newspaper.
In response, DF refused to let their leader speak with Politiken, claiming von Trier is not Kjaersgaard’s equal. The party’s spokesman Soren Espersen, however, said, “It’s interesting that [the criticism] comes from a declared Nazi and a man who has made violent films of the most perverse character which, according to Breivik himself, inspired his atrocities.”
Espersen argued that his party is always singled out after racially-motivated events.”It is so unfair. We also got the blame for the embassy burnings following the Mohammed crisis. It’s almost like we can’t do anything right, whether it is enraged Islamists, perverted anarchists, or Anders Breivik,” he said.