Danish director Lars von Trier, whose film Melancholia wowed critics at the Cannes Film Festival but whose recent comments about Adolf Hitler drew headlines, was declared “persona non grata” in an unprecedented move by the Festival. In a statement, the Festival’s Board of Directors, said it “profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the Festival.”

A Cannes spokesperson told the Associated Press that Melancholia will remain in competition, but its director would not be present to accept any prizes should it win.

On Wednesday, von Trier told reporters that he understood and sympathized a bit with Hitler before issuing an apology.