Director Lars von Trier has apologised after a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival where he told reporters he was "a Nazi" and said he could "understand Hitler".
A statement released by festival organisers said they were "disturbed" by his statements and asked for an explanation.
It added: "The director states that he let himself be egged on by a provocation. He presents his apology. The direction of the Festival acknowledges this and is passing on Lars von Trier's apology."
The Danish filmmaker discussed Adolf Hitler, porn films and the drinking habits of some of his stars during the 40-minute session to promote his new film Melancholia, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kirsten Dunst.
Von Trier, who was brought up believing he was Jewish until he discovered his biological father was a German Catholic, said: "I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out I was really a Nazi, you know because my family was German."
He went on to say he could "understand Hitler", adding: "But come on, I'm not for the Second World War and I'm not against Jews."
And the eccentric filmmaker, well-known for including graphic sex scenes in his films, also joked that Kirsten had insisted his next film would be a "a porn film" and she would star in it alongside Charlotte.
After the press call von Trier issued a statement which said: "If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologise. I am not anti-semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a nazi."