WATCH: Trailer for ‘The House That Jack Built.’
This marked von Trier’s first appearance at the film festival since 2011, when his controversial press conference comments about “sympathizing with Hitler” led to a seven-year-ban.
His film, which stars Matt Dillion and Uma Thurman, follows the murder spree of a serial killer over the course of several decades.
Cannes director Thierry Frémaux said that the film featured “a subject so controversial” that it could only appear in an out-of-competition slot at the festival.
Variety reported that more than 100 people left the screening of “The House That Jack Built” due to the film’s “disgusting” content.
The scene which seems to have prompted the majority of walkouts is one in which Dillon’s character shoots two children at a family picnic in the head with a rifle.
In another controversial scene, Riley Keogh’s character is seen having her breast sliced off, while a flashback scene showing a child removing a duckling’s leg with a pair of pliers.
The film also includes archive footage from concentration camps.
The director told University Posts that he doesn’t see anything wrong with depicting graphic violence in his films.
“I’m against censorship of any kind,” von Trier said. “My opinion is that if you can think it, you should be able to show it.”
People took to Twitter to discuss von Trier’s film and their reasoning for walking out of the screening.
“He mutilates Riley Keough, he mutilates children … and we are all there in formal dress expected to watch it?” another viewer told Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan.
Despite the walkouts, the film received a six-minute long standing ovation in the theatre.
Some critics that were present at the Cannes screening said they loved the film.
The walkout at Cannes has horror fans counting down until the release date of “The House That Jack Built”.
IFC Films already has acquired U.S. distribution rights to “The House That Jack Built” and will release it in theatres this fall.