The Nymphamaniac Berlin Film Festival situation is a bit confusing. It’s also a little maddening in terms of scheduling. On one hand the two-part theatrical release version now showing in certain parts of northern Europe (and due to open in the U.S. in March) runs four hours, but the Guardian and other news orgs reported on 12.17 that a more explicit five-and-a-half hour version will premiere at the Berlinale. At the same time the Guardian quoted festival director Dieter Kosslick as saying that Berlinale audiences “will be the first to see the long uncut version of Nymphomaniac Volume I.” This obviously suggests that Part II won’t be shown, however long that may be. (Right?) So the uncut Part I is five and a half hours and Part II is God knows how long, which means the whole magilla will actually run…what, eight hours?
The following is posted on the Nymphomaniac Facebook page: “I see there is some confusion here so let me break it down: Nymphomaniac has been split into 2 parts. There is a version, the ‘Lars version’ if you will, that runs 5 and 1/2 hours. This has been split into 2 parts will be 2 and 1/2 hours for part 1 and 3 hours for part 2. The first part of this version is the one being screened at the Berlin Film Festival.”
Wait…what? The Guardian story said flat-out that the five-and-a-half hour version would have its world premiere at the Berlinale. Not half (running 150 minutes) but all of it. This sounds ridiculous. There’s some kind of profound misunderstanding here, and I think Kosslick may be at the bottom of it.
On top of which there reportedly won’t be any announcement from the Berlinale staff as to when Nymphomaniac will screen until…what, late January? This plays hell with my scheduling and flight plans. I’m planning to stay for two days at the swanky hotel that Fox Searchlight is offering, and then flop for two or three days at a Berlin hotel somewhere so I can attend some of the other Berlinale films before returning home.
If Nymphomaniac will screen at the very end of the festival I won’t be able to see it because I can only afford to stay an extra two or three days. But if it will be shown within, say, the first three or four days I can see it. But I also need to figure out my return flight plan.
This morning I wrote the following to a Berlinale staffer: “I know you aren’t permitted to confirm any play dates for any Berlinale film (the official announcement is in late January, no?) but can you at least tell me if the Von Trier film will show in the early (first 3 or 4 days), middle or late period of the festival? Like I said, if it’s showing at the end I’ll have no choice but to fly home as I can’t afford to stay more than 4 or 5 days total, including the two Fox Searchlight days.”