Actor Shia LaBeouf walks out of Berlin press conference

Media caption,
Shia LaBeouf wore a paper bag on his head on the Berlin Film Festival's red carpet

US actor Shia LaBeouf has walked out of a news conference for director Lars von Trier's new film Nymphomaniac at the Berlin Film Festival.

LaBeouf left after 10 minutes, quoting footballer Eric Cantona's famous 1995 line: "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."

He later appeared on the red carpet wearing a paper bag on his head.

Written on it were the words: "I am not famous any more."

LaBeouf had walked out of the news conference after being asked about the film's explicit sex scenes.

His parting line was taken from a cryptic quote Cantona delivered after he had caused a furore by kicking a fan in the crowd while playing for Manchester United.

LaBeouf is known for films including Transformers, Wall Street II, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Actress Uma Thurman (left) laughed off LaBeouf's enigmatic exit
Image source, AP
Image caption,
Lars Von Trier wore a T-shirt bearing the words "Persona non grata"

The film's stars Christian Slater and Uma Thurman later laughed about their co-star's comments, joking that the script contained a lot of sardines.

Lars von Trier missed the news conference but did turn up for an earlier photocall wearing a T-shirt bearing the words "Persona non grata" alongside the gold leaf logo of the Cannes Film Festival.

That was a reference to the divisive director's expulsion from Cannes three years ago after he suggested in a news conference that he sympathised with Adolf Hitler.

Audience cheers

He no longer takes part in such news conferences but the incident did not deter him from arriving in Berlin to promote his film.

The two-and-a-half hour Nymphomaniac Volume I follows a sex-addicted girl, played by newcomer Stacy Martin, and a long line of her lovers. A second volume has been made, with Charlotte Gainsbourg in the lead role.

The film "premiered to cheers" and "went down a storm at an afternoon press preview on Sunday", the AFP news agency reported.

The film has received generally positive reviews for Nymphomaniac Part 1, reported the BBC's Emma Jones, with the website Indiewire saying: " Out what should be discordant, salacious, self-indulgent and ugly, Von Trier... has crafted something witty and clever and thrilling."

Writing in The Guardian, critic Xan Brooks says of it that it "bludgeons the body and tenderises the soul - it is perplexing, preposterous and utterly fascinating."

'Patient and gentle'

Martin paid tribute to von Trier's qualities as director. "He is very trusting; he made the job very easy," she said.

She said of the film's content: "It's just Lars. He creates conversations and debates, and it can be uncomfortable talking about them, but it's important. Our sexuality is important so why deny it?

"The sex scenes are part of the film, and I love Lars and I trust him, so I trusted the scenes. You just have to have fun with it, I guess, if you're going to be in a film called Nymphomaniac."

Slater added: "From the first moment that I sat down and had dinner with Lars, I was placed in the actor comfort zone. I just felt him to be a very genuine person, very real.

"I could tell just by looking at him and by talking with him that he had a very sensitive soul."

He called the director's his methods of working " utterly different to Hollywood," adding: "He was very patient and gentle with me."