Trailer Tuesday: Nymphomaniac

So, the trailer for Nymphomaniac above is probably still NSFW, but at least it's not the original Red Band version. Actually, I think the preview above does a better job promoting the cinematic value of the film than the first, with its high, highly distracting shock quotient.

Writer-director Lars Von Trier is definitely one of the most divisive filmmakers working today. Whether you love him or hate him, you do at least always have some form of emotional response to his work. And his latest, the 2-volume, 2-hour (or single 5-and-a-half-hour epic), Nymphomaniac seems to be no different.

Von Trier reunites with his Antichrist leading lady, Charlotte Gainsbourg for this explicit drama. In essence an all-star character study, Nymphomaniac chronicles the life of Joe, a self-confessed sex addict. Found badly battered in an alley, she is taken in by a kindly old bachelor (Stellan Skarsgard). While she heals, she recounts her story to him. In Volume I, Joe's childhood, teens and young adulthood are explored, while Volume 2 centres on her increasingly twisted, dark experiences as a grown woman.

Newcomer Stacy Martin plays young Joe, while the rest of the cast includes Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Jamie Bell, Willem Dafoe, Connie Nielsen and Udo Kier.

Nymphomaniac was always guaranteed to be controversial. Disregarding the film's graphic depiction of sex - with prosthetics and digital compositing apparently used for below-the-belt shots - the film's promotional material has been unapologetically suggestive. Check out the film's logo device and series of o-face character posters.

As it turns out, what could easily have been Von Trier trolling and teasing the audience is actually an engrossing movie experience. It's excessive. It's arty. And its first half is much better than its leaden concluding volume. However, it's also not without an appreciably frank attitude to sex, a surprising sense of humour and some very potent insights about depression and its associated lack of feeling.

Of course, there's the temptation to link overt female sexuality and promiscuity to serious psychological issues. However, according to reviewers Von Trier manages to circumvent this very real danger too... which I honestly didn't expect after the weirdly misogynistic Antichrist.

So count me in for Nymphomaniac. I'm prepared to be conflicted!

This said, I'm not entirely sure when I'll get to watch the movie. Nymphomaniac: Volume I opens in North America on 21 March, and Volume II on 18 April. The film's South African release date is currently is unknown but I wouldn't hold my breath about our film board clearing it any time soon - unless it pops up at the Durban International Film Festival or something.


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