“Everyone knows that sex sells,” writes Indiewire‘s Boyd von Hoeij in a 12.12 post. “Lars von Trier‘s latest film, Nymphomaniac, has a lot of it. So one might assume its box-office potential is pretty big. But it might not be that cut and dried. With von Trier, it never is.” Von Hoeij notes that Nymphomaniac “screened for the press for the first time last week in Copenhagen. BVH presumably attended this screening, and yet he waits until Thursday of the following week (i.e., today) to post a vaguely worded reaction? Did he have the flu?
“For starters, there’s sex on film and then there’s explicit sex on film — more often called porn,” he writes. “Except this is auteur porn and though there’s a lot of sex, there’s even more time dedicated to character, story and countless intellectual digressions. Not a lot of curious horndogs looking to get off on their favorite stars having explicit sex (via body doubles) are likely to sit through an arthouse film that’s at least double a regular feature’s length. Or are they?
“Nymphomaniac, an epic and explicit exploration of a woman’s life and lovers over five decades, is indeed really long — so long, in fact, that it’s been divided into two parts, made up of a total of eight chapters, with immediate stiffy-inducing titles such as ‘The Eastern and the Western Church.’ Only von Trier could try to make such disparate elements come together meaningfully in a single film.
“Present for the Copenhagen press junket were the trio of main actors, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard and newcomer Stacy Martin, who plays Gainsbourg’s character as a girl. Conspicuously absent was one man: von Trier himself.”