Lars Von Trier is no stranger to controversy. From his very first forays into directing to the creation of the Dogme ’95 school of no-frills filmmaking, he is an artist who obvious creative gifts often take a backseat to contentious subject matter and personal/professional gaffs (he is still banned from Cannes after going on a surreal “pro-Hitler” rant a few years back). Still, for all his questionable choices and causes, he is also responsible for such undeniable masterworks as the brilliant ‘Breaking the Waves,’ ‘Dancer in the Dark,’ ‘Antichrist,’ and ‘Melancholia.’ With his most recent project – a drama about sex addiction entitled ‘Nymphomaniac‘ (or as the poster art puts it, “Nymph()maniac”) – Von Trier seems once again ready to court outrage.
Fans and the film industry are still wondering what to make of this film, a proposed “hardcore” feature including many famous faces (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Willem Dafoe, Uma Thurman, Stellan Skarsgård, Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell, Christian Slater, and Udo Kier) doing supposedly “uncensored” things. Well, apparently, the really raw XXX content will be saved for foreign audiences. In America, Magnet Releasing recently announced (via outlets such as Deadline.com) that ‘Nymphomaniac’ will come to our shores “uncut” and be presented in two parts. The first film, focusing on Ms. Gainsbourg’s character as a young girl, will arrive on March 21st (after a March 6th VOD bow). The second part, centering on her life as an adult, will see On Demand availability April 3rd before hitting theaters April 18th.
Based on the posters and the posturing, it appears Von Trier is either going to push envelopes way past the mainstream comfort zone or drastically disappoint. He has said that most of his name cast aren’t “involved” in the more explicit material, but then we’ve seen several clips and trailers which take that notion to task (as with one showing Gainsbourg full frontal). Like any good huckster/carnival barker, Von Trier is doing a dynamite job drumming up interest. Even viewers not normally tuned to this Danish agent provocateur’s aesthetic wavelength can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeve, sexually and cinematically speaking. In just a few short months, we’ll have our answer.