Some of those who left early called the dark and grisly serial killer comedy The House that Jack Built “disgusting” and “torturous”.
The movie, starring Matt Dillon as the lead, is written and directed by the Danish filmmaker, who was banned from Cannes in 2011 for saying he sympathised with Adolf Hitler.
Dillon portrays a serial killer as he carries out 12 murders and shows the mutilation of women and children.
One of those who left before the end was the Showbiz 411.com reviewer, who tweeted: “Walked out on LarsvonTrier . Vile movie. Should not have been made. Actors culpable.”
Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh posted a picture of people leaving, saying: “I’ve never seen anything like this at a film festival. 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 Playlist said on Twitter: “Lars Von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built’ Is Repulsive, Toxic Trash.”
But the Danish director was unrepentant, saying: “That’s what I hoped.
“Yeah. Because, you know, if you stand up and walk out then you have had a thought process before for a long time you think, ‘I’m not gonna stand for this’ or ‘I can’t take this,’ or whatever. So anything that makes people think, I believe is sound.”
The Dane’s treatment of women has also been questioned, as most of the female cast are victims of Jack’s brutality, and not smart enough to escape his wrath.
But von Trier disagreed, saying: “I made quite a lot of films about women, so now I made one about a really evil bastard. And the funny thing is that you actually are with him the whole way.”
The programme schedule included a warning, which read: “Certain scenes are likely to offend the sensitivity of the spectators.”
The festival had just lifted a ban on the controversial director – after he joked in 2011 that he sympathised with Hitler – so he could screen this new film.