The enfant terrible of Danish cinema, Lars Von Trier, will not release a soft-core version of his latest film, Nymphomaniac. Staring his favourite actress, Charlotte Gainsbourg, the movie will open in Copenhagen on Christmas Day with explicit nudity and sex scenes.
In two parts, Nymphomaniac runs for five-and-a-half hours, although the director has, for the first time in his long career, agreed to allow an editor to make the final cut.
This is not surprising coming as it does from a helmer known for his quirky ways. Last year at Cannes, Von Trier addressing a Press conference soon after his Melancholia, premiered there in Competition, jocularly sympathised with Hitler, a comment that forced the Festival to declare him persona non-grata. Fortunately, the ban was only for that Festival, and the jury even awarded the Best Actress Palm to Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia’s lead star.
Mortally afraid of flying, a phobia which confines his shoots to Europe, he once famously quipped that Casablanca was not filmed in Morocco but in an American studio -- when a journalist asked him during a media meet how the director could have thought of shooting Dogville (with Nicole Kidman) and Manderlay in Europe when their stories were set in the US.
Renowned for an erotica like The Idiots with its unsimulated sex, Von Trier has always had the penchant for plots about unhappy woman – like in Breaking the Waves and Antichrist (where the deeply distressed protagonist, essayed by Gainsbourg, even mutilates her genitals) among others.
In Nymphomaniac though, Von Trier has used digital tricks and body doubles (to portray stars like Uma Thurman and Christian Slater) to explore the erotic life of a woman from her childhood to middle age.
Nymphomaniac may play at Cannes in 2014, with the festival’s director, Thierry Fremaux, stating some months ago that they would most certainly consider Von Trier’s movie if he had one ready.
Fremaux is expected to be part of the Film Bazar, organised by the National Film Development Corporation of India. The Bazar will run along with the International Film Festival of India starting in Goa’s Panaji on November 20.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran will cover the International Film Festival of India for the 25th year.)