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Tuesday
Jan282014

We Can't Wait #8: Nymphomaniac

In the We Can't Wait series we're looking at our top 14 most exciting film prospects for 2014. Previously we've covered BoyhoodBig EyesThe Last 5 Years, Gone Girl , Can a Song Save Your Life and Veronica Mars plus movies that just missed the cutHere's Dave on Lars von Trier's latest which had a successful "surprise" screening (half of it at least) at Sundance this year. -Editor

Nymphomaniac
Agent provocateur Lars Von Trier takes us on an epic journey through the sexual history of Joe, a middle-aged, self-diagnosed nymphomaniac.

Talent
Lars von Trier writes and directs - although in an unprecedented move, he surrendered final cut. Returning LVT players include lead Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Udo Kier and Willem Dafoe, while Shia LaBeouf, Uma Thurman, Jamie Bell, Christian Slater and Connie Nielsen are among the Von Trier Virgins. Newcomer Stacy Martin plays Joe as a younger woman.

Why We Can’t Wait
Von Trier has a chequered and colourful history, but his immense talent is clear from the raft of talented Hollywood stars littering the cast list of what might be his most ambitious undertaking yet. He’s a deeply challenging and provocative filmmaker, but he rarely loses sight of his characters and the great performances that bring them to life - and he puts women front and centre in that regard. He seems to have found a muse of sorts, or at least a rewarding collaborator, in Gainsbourg, whose waifish figure disguises some incredibly peculiar, eerie power.

I was sold before a single frame had been shot, but the P&A team behind Nymphomaniac have been doing a smart job at selling it nonetheless; the marketing, from the orgasmic character posters to the wittily elegant simplicity of the main design, seem to be perfectly in line with the film’s apparent blend of salty humour and blunt sexuality, while the video teasers have crossed censors’ lines in an inevitable mini-furore. Glimpsing the stirrings of venomous ire in Uma Thurman’s Mrs. H was basically the cherry on top of this perverse cake.

But We Do Have To Wait
Not too long, though. We may yet get to see Von Trier’s own lengthy cut, but Nymphomaniac is receiving a US release in two parts. Part I hits VOD on March 6th March and cinemas on March 21st with Part II following a month later.

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Reader Comments (15)

I saw Volume II last Friday. I think Vol. I is superior, but I still don't know how I feel about the movie as a whole.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

i love the marketing of this so far but the 5 hour length is already putting me off. Movies are just getting so flabby / tv wannabe. I so long for a wave of really great 90 minute pictures. Movies and Television aren't supposed to be the same thing. They both have their pleasures but movies were never meant to be episodic the way television was meant to be and i kinda wish filmmakers would quit it. If you want to make TV make TV. there's no shame in it and a lot of it is really good. I think Harry Potter and all the other mega franchises would pretty much be outstanding as tv but are just mediocre as movies. probably because they don't know how to tell a story from beginning - middle - end.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

This movie sucks. I mean, big time.

I've seen part one only.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Part of the fun of Von Trier film is the train wreck appeal. And the boundary pushing. And the talent he has. There are a lot of so called boundary pushers who are just jerking off on screen to their own soundtrack, but I actually believe Lars is trying to find something new (not just be something new) and his talent makes up for some of the silliness. Dancer in the Dark was a hot mess, and some of the camera work made me nauseous, but there were some terrific ideas and parts of it have stuck with me with only one viewing. And there is no doubting his women are the stars of his work which says a lot about his intent. I'll see this and unless the first part is just a total disaster, I doubt I regret it.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

My most anticipated of the year.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

@Nathaniel R - "Movies were never meant to be episodic in the way television was meant to be".

Except in the days when serials were big business - 'The Perils of Pauline', 'Flash Gordon', etc. Films made use of the serial form before television was invented. It seems a bit much to claim that films should be one-shots as a matter of formal purity, or that television has greater claim to seriality.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaika

Well, he disturbes me and depresses me (objectively speaking, not as an insult). And he really really really knows how to use his leading and supporting ladies. Especially the leading ones.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

Laika -- but the serials were shorts and television naturally took over from there. and yes i would totally argue that television has a greater claim to seriality. That's it's entire dna in terms of distirbution. whether it's delievered all at once (like on netflix now) or once per week as was the model for decades. Movies were never built to do that except the serials which had a very short window of popularity.

January 28, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nat: I'm more on board with the TV-ification of commercial cinema, if only because it allows for higher budget long form narratives to be made. Yes, it's annoying when it's REALLY not justified (the three part Hobbit movie (probably at least EIGHT HOURS for a book that totals just over 300 pages) and two part Mockingjay adaptation (four to five hours for 390 pages) are some of the most absolute shamlessly moneygrubbing decisions EVER, the former more so than the latter), but when it really works (Marvel Cinematic Universe), it can lead to some stunningly excellent popcorn like The Avengers.
Speaking of Marvel: Who here hopes the next four non-Marvel Studios superhero films (Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fantastic Four, Justice League Prequel) bomb?

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

LARS! can't wait for this. it's very exciting that so many great filmmakers (von trier, anderson, linklater) have big, high profile movies coming out in the first half of the year. who needs awards season?

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSmith

"And he really really really knows how to use his leading and supporting ladies. Especially the leading ones."

There a prefix missing somewhere in that first sentence.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Nathaniel - totally true about length, which mainly makes me fantasize that 'Nymphomaniac' would be broken up into ten or so half-hour installments to play before major features. Less 'The Perils of Pauline', more 'The Gyrations of Joe'?

Obviously I agree that there are reasons TV favors narrative seriality and movies generally haven't since TV came along - but that doesn't mean movies can't do it, or haven't. Movies have gone serial for good artistic reasons (The Lord of the Rings) and totally cynical commercial ones (The Hobbit!) I just don't get the need to argue that it is somehow outside of cinema's purview to break a story up into segments as if it is alien to the medium.

Joss Whedon made a similar argument about why the ending of 'The Empire Strikes Back' doesn't work for him: http://www.slashfilm.com/joss-whedon-explains-his-major-problem-with-the-empire-strikes-back/

Obviously he's free to like or dislike it as an ending, but it seems strange to make it an argument about whether movies can/should do a certain formal thing simply because they are movies and *therefore must behave in certain ways*, rather than debating the merits of the ending itself - particularly since the thing he says movies shouldn't do they did do and still do do from time to time.

And I'm not sure 30 years + counts as that short a window of film history - serials were being made from the early-mid teens right up until WWII.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaika

I am so ready. I was ready for both parts yesterday.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I love the poster, love the marketing, love some of the actors. I love Von Trier only sometimes ('Melancholia' the most recent). But this film... It is a joke. I left the cinema feeling angry and ripped off.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbonobo

I should have been the casting director. All the cocks are really awful.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Jean Brodie

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