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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 May, 2003, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
Dogville was 'too provocative'
Dogville
Nicole Kidman and Paul Bettany star in Dogville
Director Lars von Trier, whose film Dogville came away empty-handed from the Cannes Film Festival award ceremony, said his film was too "provocative" for the jury, his producer told a Danish newspaper.

Vibeke Windelov told newspaper Jyllands-Posten that Von Trier was relieved to have lost out.

She accused the jury of making a political choice because Dogville was seen as anti-American.

Dogville, starring Nicole Kidman, was seen as the favourite to win the prestigious Palme d'Or - which eventually went to Gus Van Sant's Elephant.

Windelov said she and Kidman were "terribly nervous" about how the Danish director would react.

"But when we spoke to him he was in a very good mood, and reacted by saying that we had to now attack the next film," she told the paper.

Lars von Trier
Von Trier's film was accused of being "sharply anti-American"
The next film, Manderlay, the second in the Dogville trilogy, will also star Kidman.

Von Trier won the Palme d'Or for Dancer in the Dark in 2000 and has had films in competition at the festival on five other occasions.

But he was now "happy to be out of the witches' cauldron of Cannes", Windelov said.

She told another Danish paper, Politiken: "He told me, 'now I know that what I'm doing is right. But it was so provocative that [the jury] did not want to award it'.

"The worst thing would have been to receive a consolation prize."

The head of Von Trier's Zentropa production company, Peter Aalbeck Jensen, said the decision was "politically correct" and Dogville was "too controversial".

Dogville was filmed on one stark set - a simple theatre stage with few props and chalk marks on the floor.

Gus Van Sant
Gus Van Sant's Elephant picked up the Palme d'Or
It tells the story of Grace, a beautiful fugitive on the run from gangsters who arrives in the isolated township of Dogville in the US Rockies.

It was "sharply anti-American", according to the Washington Post.

Another critic said any American would find the film "as terrifying as a replay of those jets ploughing into the World Trade Center".

The only prize Dogville did take away was the unofficial Palme Dog for Moses, a chalk outline of a dog on the set, awarded to the best canine performance.

Many critics said the standard of films up for the main prizes was the lowest in living memory.

'Wonderful' prize

Van Sant's winning film was based on the 1999 Columbine school shooting, and used high school students rather than actors in his film.

"I've been trying to get my films to Cannes for years, and this time, it's wonderful to receive such a prize," he said.

"To win is miraculous and fortunate and lucky."

His film was also accused of being anti-American.

Last year's winner at Cannes, The Pianist, directed by Roman Polanski, went on to have great success at the 2003 Oscars, winning best director and best actor.


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