Film

Lars von Trier's Fucking Ridiculous Nymphomaniac: Volume I

Lars von Trier's Fucking Ridiculous Nymphomaniac: Volume I

NYMPHOMANIAC: VOLUME I In whom will Shia insert LaBeouf?

In the first minutes of Nymphomaniac: Volume I, the latest film from Danish director Lars von Trier, the camera winds its way through a rain-soaked night to find our main character: a brutally beaten woman lying wounded in an alley. This woman should not be confused with any of Von Trier's previous brutalized females, including Breaking the Waves' Bess (who is raped and beaten to death), Antichrist's "She" (who cuts off her clitoris with scissors), Dogville's Grace (who is raped and enslaved by an entire town), or Dancer in the Dark's Selma (who is tortured by circumstance then graphically executed by the state). Are you sensing a theme? Or are you too busy trying not to puke?

If it's any consolation, Von Trier's latest piñata-with-a-vagina insists she was asking for it. After being found beaten in the alley, Nymphomaniac's Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is taken in by the bookish bachelor Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who offers her tea and listens to her tales of a life beset by sex addiction. These tales come to life before our eyes, as the young Joe (portrayed by Stacy Martin) learns of sexual pleasure and her own sexual power. The sex is both graphic and technologically accomplished, with the intermingling genitals of nameless porn actors superimposed on the bodies of the film's stars (including Shia LaBeouf, who takes the preteen Joe's vaginal and anal virginity with a half dozen dull thrusts).

Back in the present, Seligman draws parallels between Joe's frantic fuckery and his own studies of fly fishing, through dialogue so stilted and inane, you'll laugh out loud. And yet! In this swamp of garish pretension, Nymphomaniac: Volume I hits upon stretches of great cinema—most notably, a smashing scene starring Uma Thurman as an increasingly unhinged victim of Joe's compulsion, a scene that you'll want to go on forever. Instead, it's back to creepy sex findings, with Von Trier's preoccupation with misogynistic horror making the whole endeavor suspect (if not repellent). Still, it's a daring film that many will want to see for themselves, and that is ultimately only half the story: Nymphomaniac: Volume II arrives in early April. recommended

 

Comments (16) RSS

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1
Surely any mention of a Lars Von Trier film should include a disclaimer that the fellow is an unrepentant Nazi. Some film viewers may find this sufficient reason to avoid his films, much as with the crimes of Roman Polanski or the allegations against Woody Allen.
Posted by Warren Terra on March 21, 2014 at 10:14 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 2
Come on, Warren.

Can we never listen to Elvis Costello again because he called James Brown and Ray Charles niggers when he was drunkenly trying to provoke Bonnie Bramlett?

Von Trier made an ill-considered ironic joke that fell flat, very very flat. That doesn't equate with statutory rape which Polanski definitely committed, and child molestation, which Allen has only been accused of.

Von Trier is an misogynist asshole, to be sure. But "unrepentant Nazi" is not what he was saying in the article you linked.

Elvis on his transgression: “it became necessary for me to outrage these people with the most offensive and obnoxious remarks I could muster to bring the argument to a swift conclusion and rid myself of their presence.”

Sounds like Von Trier's stupid idea, too.

Posted by Max Solomon on March 21, 2014 at 10:31 AM · Report this
3
I'm not getting the point seeing as the sex acts are not being performed by the actual actors.
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on March 21, 2014 at 10:37 AM · Report this
schmacky 4
Thank you, @2. Internet scolds like Warren are this generation's Judge Hathornes.
Posted by schmacky on March 21, 2014 at 10:40 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 5
@2-"That doesn't equate with statutory rape which Polanski definitely committed..."

While that may be the crime he plead guilty to, what he did was drug a 13 year old girl nearly insensible, ignore her pleas to stop, in respect of her virginity sodomize her instead of vaginally raping her, all while she sobbed and cried.

It's not like he banged an underage girl by accident. He's a rapist.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on March 21, 2014 at 10:59 AM · Report this
seattlestew 6
Between the review and the comments, I sure am in the mood for the super fun sexy times in this movie! Wait, no, just the opposite. I think I'll pass.
Posted by seattlestew on March 21, 2014 at 11:19 AM · Report this
7
Should the caption not read "into whom"?
Posted by Jude Fawley on March 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
8
Von Trier has talent but his films have this repetitive theme of beating women to a pulp. After a couple of them you wonder what his problem is and not what his talent is.

Pass.
Posted by westello on March 21, 2014 at 12:22 PM · Report this
9
In our current society are we not beating woman to a pulp? Going backwards in time stripping away rights? Humankind is a fucking MAN made mess and maybe these films are a type of warning sign within a fast paced media world of sensationalism that has numbed our senses and dulled our ambitions. We sit mostly at computers or in bars erasing ourselves away instead of being true and admitting that it is almost too late for humanity.
WE have been passive for far too long and we should have been in the streets long ago participating and perpetuating Revolution.
Posted by BigBrokenBrother on March 21, 2014 at 1:08 PM · Report this
David Schmader 10
9: That's what I said after Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark and even Dogville. And here we are.

7: Dunno, don't speak French...
Posted by David Schmader on March 21, 2014 at 2:03 PM · Report this
fletc3her 11
Life is too short to watch another Lars von Trier film.
Posted by fletc3her on March 21, 2014 at 2:30 PM · Report this
evolume 12
Fucking ridiculous or ridiculous fucking
Posted by evolume http://twitter.com/evolume on March 21, 2014 at 4:41 PM · Report this
BroadwayJoeFYVM 13
Rammstein did this better with their 'Pussy' video. And it was funny, too.
Posted by BroadwayJoeFYVM http://joeknowsjacksquat.blogspot.com on March 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM · Report this
Knat 14
You already convinced me to stay away with the image of Shia LaBeouf. He's ruined enough movies I might have already enjoyed, and this one doesn't exactly sound like a lot of fun.
Posted by Knat on March 21, 2014 at 7:45 PM · Report this
15
Lars Von Trier . . . what happens when you put a money and a camera in the hands of a seriously unhinged mind.

If he was American rather than Euro trash, nobody would take his garbage at all seriously.
Posted by Purrl on March 22, 2014 at 10:02 AM · Report this
16
Lars von Trier's films are the perfect cure for excessive joy, happiness, optimism and compassion. And if ever we have too many of those things in this world, his films could play an important role in reducing them.
Posted by notfromaroundhere on March 23, 2014 at 4:15 AM · Report this

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