Thursday, March 20, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: Everything You Need to Know About NYMPHOMANIAC (VOL I).

This weekend, controversial director Lars von Trier unleashes his look at human sexuality in the first part of his new film, NYMPHOMANIAC. Here is everything you need to know about this much-talked about film.
Lars who? – NYMPHOMANIAC is directed by Danish director Lars von Trier, whose past efforts include DOGVILLE (2003), ANTICHRIST (2009), and MELANCHOLIA (2011). He received several awards at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival for DANCER IN THE DARK.

What is this about? – NYMPHOMANIAC is a sexually explicit drama about a woman’s life-long journey though love and sex as told by the main character; a 50 year old woman named Joe. Joe recounts her story to a man who finds her lying beaten on the street. The story is divided into two “volumes” (movies), composed of eight total chapters.
Who is in this? – A host of familiar faces and newcomers. Young Joe is portrayed by newcomer Stacy Martin, while her older self is played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, who also starred in von Trier’s MELANCHOLIA. Also along for the ride are Stellan Skarsgard (THOR), Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Connie Nielson, and Willem Dafoe.

What should you really know? – As if the title didn’t tip you off, NYMPHOMANIAC has a lot of sex. How much and how much does it show? Enough to earn an NC-17 rating in the U.S. The film reportedly used a lot of body doubles to film the sex scenes. The actors would pretend to have sex, and then the body doubles would come in and really have sex with the actors faces digitally inserted. Digital compositing was also used to superimpose the genitals of pornographic film actors on the bodies of the film actors.
What to expect – Don’t let all the talk about sex scare you away. NYMPHOMANIAC is considered to be the finale in von Trier’s “depression trilogy”; his trio of films, ANTICHRIST, MELANCHOLIA, and now the two-part NYMPHOMANIAC, deal with depression and our various ways of coping. Lars von Trier, who suffers from depression and several phobias, has always used his films as a way of exploring the human condition. His presentation may be controversial and uncomfortable, but his skill in exposing human faults and weaknesses is probably what really scares people away; after all, no one likes seeing parts of their weaker selves on the big screen. NYMPHOMANIAC may make you squirm in your seat, but it should also make you think, and maybe learn something.

NYMPHOMANIAC VOL I will be released March 21st. VOL II will be released April 18th.

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