Lars von Trier's Cannes comeback prompts mass audience walkout

Lars von Trier has returned to the Cannes Film Festival after a seven year exile.

Lars von Trier's Cannes Film Festival comeback was marred by controversy after a screening of his new movie reportedly prompted a mass exit of 100 audience members.

The Danish director debuted his latest project The House That Jack Built debuted at the event on Monday (14May18) but the bleak comic thriller starring Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman and Riley Keough, prompted audience members to leave en masse.

According to Variety, more than 100 people exited the screening after taking exception to the film's graphic depiction of a serial killer's murders and mutilation of women and children. The film marked Lars' return to the French movie event, seven years after he was banned for comments he made about Nazism.

Ramin Setoodeh, a journalist at Variety magazine wrote on Twitter that the anger he witnessed from the audience was unprecedented.

"I've never seen anything like this at a film festival," the film scribe revealed. "More than 100 people have walked out of Lars von Trier's 'The House That Jack Built,' which depicts the mutilation of women and children. 'It's disgusting,' one woman said on her way out."

The walkout came despite audience members being forewarned that the movie featured "sadistic violence and brutality" and Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Fremaux saying that it was so controversial it would only screen outside competition.

However, Setoodeh reported that those remaining in the cinema did give its director an ovation after its finale.

One of those who walked out was entertainment reporter Roger Friedman who described it in a tweet as a "vile movie" that "should not have been made".

In 2011, the 62-year-old director was declared "persona non grata" by festival bosses after saying that he sympathised with the Nazis at a press conference promoting his film Melancholia - a reference to the fact that his Jewish mother revealed on her deathbed that his real father was, in fact, a German engineer. He swiftly apologised, but was told by organisers he was no longer welcome.

Although Matt turned up in Cannes to promote the film, its other stars Riley and Uma skipped the world premiere.

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