COPENHAGEN—The Guardian has published an article about a recent press showing of Nymphomaniac, the latest epic from Danish director Lars von Trier that includes sexually explicit scenes. The movie stars von Trier regular Charlotte Gainsborough and Stellan Skarsgård along with a stellar cast that includes Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe and Jamie Bell.
The director was not at the screening, having sworn off all media interviews after being pilloried at the 2011 Cannes Film festival for joking about being a Nazi. "Discussing his German parentage at a press conference in Cannes," it reported, "von Trier labelled Israel 'a pain in the arse' and joked that he was a Nazi and sympathised with Hitler 'a little bit.' His comments prompted a media frenzy and led the festival first to demand a public apology and then to banish him from the event."
Still, the director's latest controversial film remains highly anticipated not least because of its unfiltered sex scenes. Following the screening in Copenhagen, Skarsgård addressed the issue of explicit sex directly, telling the media, "Pornography has just one purpose, which is to arouse you. To make you wank, basically. But if you look at this film, it's actually a really bad porn movie, even if you fast forward. And after a while you find you don't even react to the explicit scenes. They become as natural as seeing someone eating a bowl of cereal."
That may be so, but the Guardian's Xan Brooks, though light on specifics, intimated that the experience for the audience was anything but natural. "Reviews of Nymphomaniac are embargoed ahead of its Christmas opening in Denmark, with the UK release set to follow in March, but guests emerged from the Copenhagen screening looking a trifle shell-shocked by the experience," he wrote. "Perhaps most surprising is news that the four-hour Nymphomaniac is billed as the 'abridged and censored' version. Von Trier now plans to release his uncut five-and-a-half hour edition sometime in 2014. Reports suggest it may well premiere at next year's Cannes film festival. Organisers are advised to have the smelling salts on tap."
Sounds like just our cup of tea.