The Cannes Film Festival canceled a screening of “The Anti-Semite” (L'antisEmite, 2012) in May of 2012. The movie features the French comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala whose holocaust denial is well known in France, where he has been convicted of inciting hatred.
The film, which was produced by the Iranian Documentary and Experimental Film Center, makes fun of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where a million and a half Jews were murdered during World War II, and depicts Dieudonne as a drunk and violent character, dressed as a Nazi officer at a party.
The movie starts with a supposed newsreel from "Gaumont News" [Gaumont British News provided newsreels during WWII] of the discovery of Auschwitz by the U.S. Army at the end of the war. The camps are represented as a branch of Club Med, and crematoriums as the remains of a huge barbecue party between deportees. The first three minutes provide a view of holocaust revisionism with the guest appearance of holocaust denier Robert Faurisson presented here as a sympathetic historian who is simply misunderstood.
Dieudonné plays the role of a violent and alcoholic character who dresses as a Nazi officer at a fancy dress party. His dying wife urges him to consult a psychoanalyst - Jewish - to care for his anti-Semitism. The film's director in the film is a caricature of a homosexual and several team members are Zionist Jews. Alain Soral, known for his anti-Zionism, landed in the role of a Jewish producer wearing a waterproof leather jacket - which inevitably evokes those of the Gestapo - but in the movie has a Star of David. Luckily all ends well, with Dieudonné and his friends returning to the song "Hot Cocoa" sung by Annie Cordy (but reshaped into "Shoah-chicks") before a cheering crowd.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said: “Anti-Semitism has no place at Cannes, and we welcome the clear statement to that effect from the organizers of the film festival.” “Dieudonne’s grotesque anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial may play well to audiences in Iran, but the French entertainment industry and society has clearly had enough.”
Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, generally known simply as Dieudonné, is a French comedian, actor and political activist. He was born in Fontenay-aux-Roses, Hauts-de-Seine, the son of a sociologist from Brittany who exhibits as a painter under the name Josiane Grué, and of an accountant from Ekoudendi, Cameroon, who lives there now.
In the 1990s, Dieudonné appeared on stage and on television together with the Jewish comedian and actor Élie Semoun. From the mid-1990s he appeared mostly in supporting roles in several French film comedies.
Dieudonné's successful one-man shows are understood as attacks on political and social opponents and defenses of his own positions. Anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic statements made within and around these productions led to intense controversy and numerous lawsuits.
Started on 18 June 2010 in his theater, Dieudonné's most recent show to date, Mahmoud (standing for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) was set to an openly antisemitic tone, caricaturing Jews, slavery and "official" versions of history.
Dieudonné is the owner of the Théâtre de la Main d'Or in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, which is used for both stand-up comedy and political events by himself and friends and allies such as the militant antisemitic "Tribu Ka."
Dieudonné was initially active on the anti-racist left. In the 1997 legislative election, he fought with his party "Les Utopistes." At the European Parliament election, 2004, Dieudonné was a candidate of the extreme left-wing party "Euro-Palestine," but left a few months after the election because of disagreements with its Jewish leaders.
He then moved to the racist right and throughout 2005 and 2006, he was often in the company of the senior Front National members. On Saturday 21 March 2009, Dieudonné announced that he would run for the 2009 European Parliament election in the Île-de-France at the head of an "anti-communitarist and anti-Zionist" party.
In an interview for the magazine Lyon Capitale in January 2002, he described "the Jews" as "a sect, a fraud, which is the worst of all, because it was the first" and said he preferred "the charisma of bin Laden to that of Bush."
On 1 December 2003, he appeared live on a television show, disguised as a parody of Israeli settler wearing military fatigues and a hat of Haredi (Orthodox) Jews. The sketch climaxed with a Hitler salute, after which Dieudonné shouts out a word. According to Dieudonné, he shouted "Israël" in the persona of the settler. In the following days, some news agencies stated that he shouted "Isra – Heil" or "Heil Israel."
On 16 February 2005, he declared during a press conference in Algiers, that the Central Council of French Jews CRIF (Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France) was a "mafia" that had "total control over French policy exercise", called the commemoration of the Holocaust "memorial pornography" ("pornographie mémorielle") and claimed that the "Zionists of the Centre National de la Cinématographie" prevented him from making a film about the slave trade. On 29 January 2009 Dieudonné appeared in a video making fun of the Holocaust and its commemoration.
The comedian was barred from performing in the French town of Angers on April 20, 2012. On May 9, 2012, Police in Brussels, Belgium stopped Dieudonné mid-performance after determining that his performance contravened local laws and forced the cancellation of two more shows. Then, on May 12, 2012, event producer Evenko forced the cancellation of Dieudonné's four shows in Montreal, Canada, citing "contractual conflicts."