The Mythological Production of Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac'
Lars von Trier's new film has been a rumour-fest since it first began production, we take a look at the mythological development of the controversial 'Nymphomaniac'.
Lars Von Trier’s latest film Nymphomaniac has been getting everyone hot under the collar since before any actual filming even began. Written and directed by the controversial von Trier, who is renowned for his avant-garde approach to filmmaking, the film stars Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Shia LeBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman and Willem Dafoe...how’s that for a star-studded cast?
Shia LaBeouf plays one of Joe's lovers in Nymphomaniac
There may be loads of mainstream actors on board, but the concept behind Nymphomaniac is anything but commercial. Charting the sexual history of Joe, a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, the plot sees her recount her erotic experiences to Seligman, a bachelor who took her in after finding her having been beaten up in an alley. Divided into two separate films, or “volumes”, and eight chapters, the first volume of Nymphomaniac tells the story of Joe when she was young (played by Stacy Martin) while volume two is concerned with the older Joe.
From day one of production the public have questioned how von Trier would manage to portray the sexual scenes, as it was made clear that they would be explicit. Particularly since Shia LaBeouf has described the movie as containing hard-core pornography. Louise Vesth, who produced Nymphomaniac explained, “We shot the actors pretending to have sex and then had the body doubles, who really did have sex, and in post we will digital impose the two. So above the waist it will be the star and below the waist it will be the doubles.” Sounds like a pretty intricate job to us! The guys behind the special effects must have had to zoom up really close to make sure everything was, um, well connected.
The nature of the film has inspired a lot of intrigue, and it seemed like every week of the production there was a new rumour about what was happening on the infamous Nymphomaniac set. One week it was reported that all of the actors were engaging in sexual intercourse, it was later confirmed that a prosthetic vagina had been used. Either way, the ambiguity mounted and Nymphomaniac has become one of the most talked about and notorious films to come out in a very long time.
Promotional poster for Nymphomaniac
Nymphomanic Volume I and Volume II were released to the public on 22nd February, and have received generally positive reviews, with von Trier praised for his ambition. The films are the final installment in the Danish directors “Depression Trilogy”, preceded by 2009’s Antichrist and 2011’s Melancholia.
Have you managed to see Nymphomaniac? Is it as overtly erotic as it’s been made out to be?