|Still from Nymphomaniac (2013)|
Gratuitous and relentless painful sex is as likely to appear in a Lars Von Trier film as much as bare-knuckle boxing matches are likely to appear in a Guy Ritchie film, so brace yourself children for Nymphomaniac (2013).
Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg (who’s been in the two prior Von Trier films; Melancholia (2013) and AntiChrist (2009)) a dying self-proclaimed nympho retells of all his sexual experiences to anyone who would listen, but for the love of god why would they? I mean if Von Trier is involved I imagine every story has something to do with just a lot of blood and tears. Has sex in any Von Trier film ever been enjoyable or arousing to watch? It’s been torture, and not in the good way, but I think that is a creation of Von Trier unto itself. The displeasure of sex.
Hate to say it but it sounds very Breaking the Waves (1996) don’t it? Remember his first English language film? The one that was actually good and not polarizing? The one that was not art for art’s sake? The one before he made the incendiary statement that he sympathizes with Hitler?
|Innocent small-town girl Emily Watson plays against Skarsgård (a man who's appetite for sex knows no bounds) and eventually leads to her demise.|
Anyway, Breaking the Waves (1996) was a beautiful film starring Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgård, who is in this one too apparently. It involves some kind of rig worker (Skarsgård,) who gets injured on a barge (or something I can’t remember) and becomes paralyzed form the neck down. He then forces his wife Watson using survivor’s guilt on her sorry ass to have sexual encounters with other men and then tell him all about it so that he can thereby vicariously experience them himself because his peen is more or less in the vault at that point.
So basically, this is not a film about sex, it’s a film about the stories we tell each other about all the sex we’ve had or hope to have, so kind of like a Danish existential bizarre-as-shit slumber party. I for one still haven’t forgiven Von Trier for his completely irresponsible comments at Cannes, but again looking at it from a filmmaking perspective, I have a love-hate relationship with him. His earlier Danish films don’t interest me much, and I never liked them. Then, he had a winning streak with Breaking the Waves (1996), Dancer in the Dark (2000), and Dogville (2003) (which he appropriately titled his ‘Death trilogy’) how Ingmar Bergman of you, Trier. But Antichrist (2009) is a film I flat out blocked out of my brain it was so profoundly idiotic. And Manderlay (2005)…let’s be honest, no one gave a shit about, or watched as far as I remember.
|Von Trier on the set of Melancholia (2011) with co-stars Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg|
Melancholia (2011) on the other hand was a revelation, it took me a couple of times (and a couple of friends, you know your names) to finally convince me that this was a great work of art, so based on his history, I’m going to say that I have faith in the project, but am expecting a widely mixed if not totally polarizing reaction from every festival it travels to this year (except Cannes considering he’s a persona non grata there and we all know why), but that’s exactly what he wants. No publicity is bad publicity is it Trier? Unless of course you’re defending Hitler.
Below some trailers.