ORIGINAL TITLE: Nymphomaniac
DIRECTOR: Lars von Trier
SCREEN WRITER: Lars von Trier
CAST: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Connie Nielsen, Christian Slater, Nicolas Bro, Jesper Christensen, Uma Thurman, Caroline Goodall, Kate Ashfield, Saskia Reeves, Jens Albinus, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Mia Goth, Omar Shargawi, Severin von Hoensbroech
RUNNING TIME: 117 min.
ANNA PARCERISAS“Perhaps the only difference between me and other people is that I've always demanded more from the sunset. More spectacular colors when the sun hit the horizon. That's perhaps my only sin”.
Two afternoons ago I went to see Nymphomaniac at one of my favorite cinemas in London, Curzon Soho, between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. I have to say that I was quite eager to see Trier’s last movie. I suppose it’s because of the comments and reviews I’ve read before deciding to watch the movie. I expected some sort of shocking and outstanding movie, but as far as I’m concerned it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. On top of that, if what you are expecting is a two-hour marathon porn movie, you’ll be disappointed as well.
In my opinion, Nymphomaniac volume 1 starts off very well. I have to admit that I was quite impressed by the first scene where we can see some detailed images of rain lashing down and a woman lying hurt in the middle of a narrow and dark street while “Führe mich” by Rammstein is playing. I think the contrast between silent scenes in the pouring rain and the sight of the the body of a woman lying in the street together with the creepy and strong theme of Rammstein’s song is pretty interesting. I would say that the music breaks and swallows up the silence that is supposed to take place in the scene. That can make the viewer think that the life of the woman lying in the street is broken by something.
The film follows Joe (Charlotte Gaisbourg) telling a tale all about her sordid sex life, to a virginal man (Stellan Skarsgard) who found her in a dark alley and took her to his his small flat. Each chapter covers one part of her tale, and tenuously links it with another theme: Fibonacci Numbers, fly-fishing, the human condition, among others.
With that said, I found the beginning of the film quite gripping but unfortunately this didn’t last long. As the movie progressed it turned out to be very off-putting. Especially when you reach Chapter 3, I was getting dead bored. This is the chapter that Uma Thurman appears in, and it doesn't work.. The humour, and there is a lot of humour in this Chapter, and throughout the film, seemed forced, to the point that people seemed to be laughing at the film, rather than with it.
As far as I’m concerned, the movie is well-known for its “high sexual and explicit material” (actually, it was forbidden in Turkey because of this) but honestly I think it is relatively restrained and is unlikely to shock you. Of course there are explicit sexual scenes, but they aren’t out of line. As Gainsbourg and Martin explained in a few interviews the sex scenes were unsimulated. To reach this, von Trier shot the actors pretending to have sex and then had the body doubles, who really did have sex. So above the waist it was the star and the below the waist were the doubles.
To sum up, I would describe Nymphomaniac as a tour that takes in a singular human experience, including the body and the mind, sex and love, art and life, and all of the complicated and interesting connections between them. For me, a film that goes nowhere, it’s like a good title for a book but you cannot read the pages. It doesn’t stand out in the
crowd, it’s one more movie that could have been a great one but sadly it’s hidden.