Wait For Five and 1/2 Hour Version?

Last Friday (12.13) Variety‘s Peter Debruge saw the abridged, two-part, four-hour version of Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac at Westwood’s Regent. Westwood! Debruge’s review is generally positive, explaining in various ways his view that Von Trier’s film is “a better fit for cinephiles than the raincoat crowd” — a point conveyed months ago by costar Stellan Skarsgard in an interview.

The two-parter opens in Europe on 12.25 and in the U.S. via Magnolia on 3.21 and 4.18.

“With his sexually explicit, four-hour magnum opus, enfant terrible Lars von Trier re-emerges as its dirty-old-man terrible, delivering a dense, career-encompassing work designed to shock, provoke and ultimately enlighten a public he considers altogether too prudish,” Debruge begins.

“Racy subject aside, the film provides a good-humored yet serious-minded look at sexual self-liberation, thick with references to art, music, religion and literature, even as it pushes the envelope with footage of acts previously relegated to the sphere of pornography. [But] the only arousal von Trier intends is of the intellectual variety.

“In the nearly two decades since von Trier unveiled the Dogma 95 manifesto, his work has become increasingly provocative, from integrating real sex in The Idiots to figuratively shaking his fist at God with Antichrist. If Nymphomaniac feels somewhat tame by comparison, that is surely a reflection of the compromised edit, considering the controversial elements Jo experiments with in the second half: sadomasochism, pedophilia, homosexuality and, most outrageously, a mixed-race three-way.

“As an onscreen disclaimer makes clear from the outset, ‘This film is an abridged and censored version‘ of von Trier’s bigger, longer and uncut edit, which is said to run five-and-a-half hours.

“Still, if von Trier means to challenge the depiction of sex onscreen, the truth of the matter is that people can find far more explicit imagery with a simple Google search. And when it comes to the potency of ideas, his script doesn’t uncover anything that wasn’t previously addressed by Anais Nin, Henry Miller or the Marquis de Sade.

“The film aims to overcome millennia of shame and judgment toward sexual behavior, though von Trier is hardly the first crusader on this front, and such landmark art films as Belle de Jour and Romance delve far deeper into the impulses behind aberrant sex.”

  • Little Jake

    Yes, I’ll wait for the longer version, expecting a masterpiece.

    Today’s also the day for the first WoWS reviews. They don’t seem to be as enthusiastic as yours. It looks like American Hustle will fare better than Wolf on RT and Metacritic. But I’m gonna love the Scorsese more, I think.

    • moviewatcher

      I think the reaction to WoWS is polarizing. Many reviews are extremely enthusiastic about the movie itself. Leo is getting stunning raves, btw.

  • http://2012diaries.blogspot.com/ tristan eldritch

    Eh, a mixed race three-way is more outrageous than pedophilia?

    • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

      I thought the exact same thing…I assume the presentation is what’s outrageous. I mean, who hasn’t had a mixed race three-way? Yawn.

    • pizan܍amore

      No kidding. That’s a weird list.

      “Father, I have sinned. I have lust in my heart, I killed my brother, I’m left-handed, and I write hipster folk songs.”

  • BromanBrolanski

    All that hand wringing over Magnolia making you drop $1800 to go to Denmark and this guy sees it a couple miles away. Glorious.

  • Mr. F.

    If von Trier really wants to be revolutionary, he’ll make the unedited version available online. Maybe he’ll be the one to finally bring pornography to the Internet.

  • Figaso

    Wait for it Jeff – worked on the post-prod and seen every last frame in all it’s hairy greatness.