Author Topic: NYMPH()MANIAC  (Read 59925 times)

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Cloudy

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #150 on: March 12, 2014, 12:01:26 AM »
0
Lars Von Trier’s Racy ‘Nymphomaniac’ Gets Two-Part Release From Magnolia
BY MIKE FLEMING JR | Deadline
   
After much foreplay in the form of increasingly graphic trailers that to me skate the edges of pornography, the release plan for Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac has come together. Magnolia Pictures has announced that von Trier has cut his work into two films. The first, Nymphomaniac: Part One, will open in theaters March 21 after premiering on-demand March 6. This will climax in the April 18 release of the second film, which first will be on-demand April 3.

Anyone know whether both films will be out at the same time in theaters? From the reactions here, seems like it makes sense to watch them in one viewing.

Axolotl

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #151 on: March 12, 2014, 06:47:40 AM »
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I think there should be another thread where people who've seen both parts can discuss spoilers till more people can see it legally

Drenk, I didn't think that was a gimmick, that's just some digressionary fun. He used about as many external parallels as the ones he found in the room.
The movie making fun of itself is a criticism? I could picture him writing something, thinking it was boring, glossing over it by a meta-comment because he nonethless thought the digression was important in some way. It's not really funny or amusing, but it's one self-reference that didn't work in four hour film with dozens of them that do.

<SPOILERS>

About the "negro" part. I thought that wasn't controversial at all. I seperate what a character says with what the filmmaker genuinely believes. She's someone who left her child alone to get snm'd up at some old decrepit building and later leaves him altogether. Makes sense she'd exoticize people from a place that might as well be another universe for her. That sequence with the two black guys was her objectifying them and in turn wanting to be objectified by them.

The scene in the alley at the end being random. I thought the scene with Jerome and P was perfectly in tune with the skewed reality of the film upto that point. What doesn it symbolize? Maybe that growing old is way harder for women than for men. Jerome's attractiveness only increases as he grows older and accumulates wealth, while Joe's doesn't in the eyes of most men. Maybe that was P's response to a self-serving intrusion into her life by Joe.

</SPOILERS>

Joe's was a story of a woman who's not bound by any morality in her refusal to tame her nature. The things she does were amoral for anyone, but downright Satanic in the eyes of society because she was a woman. Most dominant societal structures post-dark ages have been reliant on pleasure denial to establish control. Sexual pleasure has been considered a sin unless it serves a function other than pleasure- making babies.(By the way, what's the link between mirrors and intercourse? They both increase the number of people in the world by creating uncanny replicas) Even more sinful is female pleasure. Look at the history of female circumcision- remove a woman's clitoris so that she can't experience sexual pleasure, removing any incentive to cheat on her husband.

I look forward to the discussions when more people have seen it. People should have a lot to say about this, whether they like it or not.

Drenk

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #152 on: March 12, 2014, 12:38:34 PM »
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SPOILERS VOL I AND II


I was just taking as example the meta-commentary about the digression, but Vol II, as a whole, was never funny. Except the gang-bang. Vol I had the fishing analogy, the 3+5 suite (I don't remember how it's called), MAXIMA VULVA, Uma fucking Thurman. It was better at using different chapters. What I miss at the end is a connection with the characters; everything they say is as serious as the negro thing, some kind of bullshit philosophy. I think LVT is just messing around. He thought about the form but didn't really care about his characters. She stops having orgasms because she's not connected to the world anymore?

I did not see the hate of her sexuality in the movie. The mirror is sexual because she would see her body. And her body is sexual. She's always lived her sexuality, and men, always, were excited. Jerôme is excited about her fucking him. She isn't anymore. She lost the taste of sex. Why? Because she feels guilty? The Antichrist moment is about the guilt, I guess. But the child doesn't die this time...
Yeah, ultimately I don't get Joe and it means anything to me; that's why, even if I can appreciate the movie because the form is great, I don't think it's great. But I have this issue with LVT in general.
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03

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #153 on: March 12, 2014, 07:28:36 PM »
+2
i will elaborate on this later, but i just finished my second viewing and want to keep things fresh, outside of shoutbox.

this movie is his masterpiece. it is his epic.
it is also his most accessible outside of maybe dancer in the dark because of how plainly laid out and non confusing that one is.

this movie is important to me beyond all others because as most oldschoolers here know, im a bit sex obsessed.

 i am an actual nymphomaniac, beyond all male arrogant posturing, i literally cannot stop having sex. i have a chemical addiction to peptide phenethylamine. this movie captures that feeling in the most honest and disgustingly truthful way possible. the way i live is basically no one will ever be good enough, no one will ever truly satisfy. and as baller as it sounds, it is fucking hell, every minute of the day. it is genuinely to live in the moment and have it pass for infinity. constantly seeking. and as gay as some of you want to make it, i relate to her character more than any man i've seen in film.

Axolotl

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #154 on: March 13, 2014, 05:22:51 AM »
+6
i am an actual nymphomaniac
It's called satyriasis in men nymphomania in women.

And priapism was what you had a few days ago

Mel

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #155 on: March 20, 2014, 05:34:12 AM »
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Not sure where it should go: here or second part should have separate thread? Anyway trailer for Volume II:

Simple mind - simple pleasures...

wilder

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #156 on: March 22, 2014, 12:11:43 AM »
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I just saw Part I and am psyched on it. What an original movie. I'm holding off on reading most of your reviews until after I experience Part II next week, but the first half has to be my favorite Lars movie since Breaking the Waves. And Skarsgard is comedy.

wilder

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #157 on: March 22, 2014, 04:26:24 PM »
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Cast interviews:








samsong

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #158 on: March 23, 2014, 06:17:09 AM »
+3
i watched both volumes in one sitting (i can't imagine seeing it any other way, really) and will join the others in considering this a milestone in von trier's body of work.  (his masterpieces prior to this for me are the idiots, breaking the waves, and dogville.)  it's the culmination of everything he's done in his career up until this point, and it seems almost worth having put up with antichrist and melancholia for us to get this.  of the depression trilogy, this is the only one that truly expresses something about the experience of depression outside of just overt outward emoting.  perhaps a revisit is in order but those to strike me as high school creative writing exercises wherein  the emotions were too immediate and severe to the point of compromising any lucid thought/understanding.  it's also fun to see von trier really wearing his influences on his sleeve, even more so than usual here.  apart from the depth, the heavy shit, the brecht-by-way-to-scandanavia provocations and devices, this is just a ferociously entertaining movie.  among the most unsettling absurdist comedies i've come across.  can't wait to watch it again.

wilder

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #159 on: March 23, 2014, 05:29:26 PM »
+2
it's the culmination of everything he's done in his career up until this point, and for me it seems almost worth having put up with antichrist and melancholia for us to get this.

From the above interview with Skarsgard, breaking down LVT's process. It reminds me of what it seems PT has been gradually working towards in his own way, synthesizing Cassavetes' interest in spontaneity with the more technically sophisticated craft of other directors he admires:

How has Trier's directing style changed over the years?

I worked with him with his first feature film after he gave up total control. His first five feature films was total control - he designed every movement of the actors and everything, and they were technically brilliant and of course dead. When I saw his first film Element of Crime in a festival, I said "I’d like to work with this director when he gets interested in people". And it took him some years, but then he realized it himself, and with The Kingdom he sort of broke up this ‘total control’ thing and realized that he could actually get real life on the screen if he let the actors go.

And when we did Breaking the Waves, which was a very thought-out script — I called it ‘The Raiders of the Lost Ark’ in terms of melodrama because every scene was like a peak scene in a dramatic film….if he hadn’t let the actors be more free and create more life you would have felt the structure of it and then it wouldn’t have worked as well. He spent all those years taking away his own tools. The Dogme manifesto - it’s a very personal thing, it’s not a manifesto ‘this is the way films should be made’, it’s about him taking away his own tools and reducing everything to…eventually gets all the way down to Dogville which is just: a text, an actor, and fucking shoot it, and that’s what he did. And when we did Dogville, you see that the story in itself is so strong that it actually works. And then you have actors that bring life to it and that are not trying to do “great performances” but are just trying to bring life to it — and then you photograph it, and it works.

So he has been reducing his tools throughout the years, and then, lately, he has started using his knowledge again of sort of more traditional filmmaking, and made a beautiful film like Melancholia — and on this film we didn’t even have handheld camera we had tripod and tracking. […] After giving up his tools for many years he’s now bringing them back again. But now without constraining the actors.

Pubrick

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #160 on: March 23, 2014, 11:28:07 PM »
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That's the most succinct summary of LVT's career I've ever read.

Obviously Skarsgard understands better than anyone, having worked with him so much, he's LVT's PSH.

More than that, they clearly share a similar approach to their craft: While LVT wants to remove all his tools, Skarsgard wants to remove all his clothes.
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picolas

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #161 on: March 24, 2014, 12:33:18 AM »
+1
i truly do not understand the overwhelmingly positive response to this. i love lars but this was his most sub par, boring movie by a mile. the ending felt as though it was ghostwritten by a toddler. i swear i'm not trolling. i just don't understand why people would value this on the same level as his other work. uma's great, though.

edit: tired. more detail later

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #162 on: March 25, 2014, 10:35:23 PM »
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Technical note for people who haven't yet seen it: I rented Vol 1 through YouTube and it was kind of a garbage deal. 780p that occasionally gets pixelated, and I must have had 6 load screens, on a 30 megabit connection. I guess I'll try Amazon for the second part.

It wasn't quite clicking for me until the cutaways and diagrams reached a saturation point, and then the music sequence was like this blast of brilliance, and the way Vol 1 ended was perfect. So far it's kind of missing that Von Trier edge, but that seems to be promised in Vol 2. Withholding judgment.

I absolutely love Shia LeBeoueaf in this role. He's playing to type.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #163 on: March 29, 2014, 10:06:21 PM »
+5
When Shia LaBeouf is the best thing about your film, you know something has gone horribly wrong.

This is a genuinely bad movie. There are good scenes, even a few great scenes, but you really notice them when they're happening. (Not a good sign.)

Here's the biggest problem. Nymphomaniac is a super efficient subtext-draining machine. We are not allowed to do much interpretation, because not only is it done for us, it's forced upon us in the moment. Whenever something mysterious or potentially profound was happening and I was forming my thoughts on it, the film itself would interrupt me, with Seligman's voice, telling me what to think. He is a pest.

It's kind of merciless how you're guided through each chapter. It's as if you're trying to read a book and a teacher is standing there yelling footnotes at you. Simply does not work.

With LVT I expect confrontation; this was hand-holding. I never felt frightened or confused or challenged. This is an edgeless Lars Von Trier that I never want to see again.

In one moment, Seligman describes to Joe (and, obnoxiously, to us) how his asexuality makes him an ideal audience for her story, and how that's interesting. This is literally a character in a movie interpreting itself. We don't tolerate characters randomly introducing themselves with a brief speech about their characteristics, so why should we tolerate this? When that happened, I wasn't sure whether to cringe or facepalm, and I no longer had patience for the overexpository nonsense. But just like the relentless train that runs by Seligman's apartment, it would come back again and again. (If this is supposed to be a meta joke, it's an ineffectual one.)

The actress switch was, to put it mildly, not convincing (and didn't work as a meta joke either). I mean let's be honest here... suddenly she aged 25 years and still had a baby, and Shia LaBeouf had aged one day. I think Lars was just determined to use Charlotte Gainsbourg (who doesn't even strike me as essential for the role) and simply got lazy about making it work. Hey, how about you switch to Shia LeBeouf's replacement at the same time? And maybe as a bonus have an actual time jump there?

Now, some less mild spoilers...

The scene with the African guys was pointless. Its only purpose seems to have been (1) so Lars could get that shot with two bouncing black penises in the foreground and (2) to spice up Joe's character with a sprinkling of racism. When the scene ended I was like oh, that whole thing was just a joke. Oh. Okay then. I guess it was amusing. Except it was kind of dumb and silly that they didn't notice her leaving.

The Antichrist reference kind of infuriated me, actually, and served to highlight by explicit contrast how toothless this movie is.

These are probably my favorite scenes:

- Joe's first encounter with Jerome
- Uma's scene
- The chord sequence that ended Part I
- Joe's final confrontation with Jerome & P

Unfortunately I feel like I could do without the rest.

i truly do not understand the overwhelmingly positive response to this. i love lars but this was his most sub par, boring movie by a mile. the ending felt as though it was ghostwritten by a toddler. i swear i'm not trolling. i just don't understand why people would value this on the same level as his other work. uma's great, though.

No, you're right, the ending was garbage. And it's definitely Lars who was trolling us.
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wilder

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Re: NYMPH()MANIAC
« Reply #164 on: April 05, 2014, 04:25:22 PM »
+7
This is a fascinating movie, despite any flaws, but I found myself more partial to Volume I than Volume II, which became largely frustrating for me.

MAJOR SPOILERS

Most of Lars' films are kinds of fables, sometimes beginning with dubious psychological foundations, but what makes them work is the consistency by which they play by their own rules. In Breaking the Waves, after Jan's accident on the oil rig that leaves him paralyzed, Jan tells Bess that she must go sleep with other men and then recount her experiences to him, that it's the only way to keep himself alive, if he loses that part of himself he's done for. Does this make complete sense? Not really. Do we buy it as a foundation for the remaining story? Yes, but only because this sort of bent truth that Lars puts forth is held steadfast and is utilized with consistency.

In Nymphomaniac's last support group scene, Joe stands up and declares herself different than all the others, a societal outcast, embracing the word 'Nymphomaniac' instead of ‘Sex Addict’. Here we feel that Joe is not just avoiding categorization, but is accepting, in the face of total opposition, that she is a creature of a fundamentally different kind - not one with rote psychological traumas she's compensating for that can be corrected with therapy, but a person who was born with essentially different needs, good or bad, that are unmodifiable. This is LVT proposing an expansion of what we consider the human experience, widening the definition, giving Joe's needs validity in the same way any other sexual orientation may be allowed as natural despite societal projections.

The later scene with the two African men is problematic. It works as another checkmark on Joe's list of what she considers exotic experiences, but really what I thought the point of this scene  was (until later), was the resulting conversation with Seligman about the word "negro". Joe claims, despite Seligman's protests, that by using the word she is calling "a spade a spade" instead of pandering to political correctness. As the conversation evolves, Seligman, established as very well-read and something approaching an intellectual, very nearly has his opinion turned about the use of the word. What underpins this scene is an embracement of uncomfortable truths, in the same way that Joe accepts the word 'Nymphomaniac', which implies impossibility of change, instead of sex addict as a personal label. Seligman's turning is a bit of confirmation that Joe isn't in typical denial about her possibility of change that plagues most addicts, but is in fact something else, something rarer, and that by hearing Joe's story recounted we are stepping into a less explored but completely valid zone of human discovery (at least in Lars' universe).

The hiccup happens later (one of many) when, as the sun is rising, Joe claims she wants to be that one-in-million sex addict who can be cured, an idea that was offered to her by her earlier support group leader. This comes almost out of nowhere, apparently prompted by Joe’s finding the solitary tree at the top of the mountain, and completely negates everything we've seen up until this point. Joe's nonsensical turn here, in which she essentially denounces all we were led to believe prior (concerning Nymphomania vs. sex addiction as completely different conditions) strips that extra meaning from the earlier discussion of the word negro in regards to the African men scene and reduces it to something flirting with exploitation. The scene with Joe recounting her discovery of the tree at the top of the mountain all by its lonesome worked as a payoff for her childhood discussions with her dad (Christian Slater) in the forest, harking back to her father's descriptions of trees as souls. The final shot in that sequence was poetic — Joe standing amongst the indifferent vastness with only the sideways-growing branches dwarfing her in the frame. It worked as a visual metaphor for her plight the entire movie, however, by using it as a trigger for hope, Joe perceiving the tree as fighting against the odds of its existence, as a sign of her own possibility of being “cured”, it diminishes the image’s original meaning and changes it to be a launching pad for her late transformation that is a lot less affecting. It changes the meaning of the entire movie to the far less interesting notion that 'Joe is just a sex addict in denial’, a betrayal of the rules the movie purported to be playing by.

By canceling out the curse of Joe, Nymphomaniac ceases to be a story of martyrdom, of carrying the burden of a permanent cross, and becomes something more murky. Whatever Lars was trying to say, the story becomes corrupted by the events that transpire in the second half of Volume II, once Willem Defoe enters the picture. While the scenes that resulted from Joe's employment by Defoe weren't necessarily bad in isolation, that entire story thread wasn't informed by anything we'd seen up until that point, aside from Joe's apparent qualifications for debt collection in terms of her nymphomania, which is a contrivance that doesn’t evolve our understanding of her. The connection between Joe's condition and the later scenes where she uses her sexual knowledge to extort money from clients is slim and a strange direction for the movie to go. What ultimately results from Joe's involvement in this area are threads of jealousy, lesbian experimentation, and questions of murder in regards to good or evil. The narrative, by this point, has become confused.

Apart from working in an illegal realm outside of the normal confines of society, which Joe’s nymphomania has pushed her to do, we are no longer following the foreground affects of Joe's condition on her life. Joe sets up the telling of her story, the entire excuse for the film in the first place, as a way to prove to Seligman that she is an “evil person”. We are then led to believe that Joe’s cross to bear, her nymphomania, will be the ultimate cause of this conclusion, directly. When Joe succumbs to her wants so impulsively that she risks the welfare of her child, Marcel, we are seeing the lengths to which Joe cannot help going to satiate her desires. If Marcel had actually fallen from the apartment’s balcony and died, if that was Joe’s reasoning for her essential “evil” nature — that her nymphomania trumped her regard for another human life, I would have bought her perspective completely. Instead, the later extortion thread leads Joe to kill out of jealousy, a completely unrelated moral question. Questions of jealousy can exist totally apart from nymphomaniac tendencies, making it an arbitrary evolution in Joe’s development.

Going back a bit, P’s coming into Joe’s life also seemed somewhat ineffective. This part of the movie seems to hold three main functions: It provides an opportunity for Joe to explore lesbian attraction, one of the only sexual areas we haven’t seen her venture into by this point, it sets up the jealousy angle in regards to Jerome later on, and it creates the possibility for the scene, however, contrived, with Joe encountering the pedophile. The problem is that P’s lesbian attraction to Joe is completely coincidental, and that she (P) initiates it. It’s way too convenient that out of all the boxes Joe has yet to check (of which there are very few), P just happens to fit into the lesbian experimentation category, and is also the one to make the advances. Taking the agency out of Joe’s hands makes the bedroom scene with P somewhat meaningless, as Joe acting on an attraction to P of her own volition would have implied a truly irrepressible desperation on her part. Joe is said to be somewhat celibate by this point, apart from her interactions with men within her job, so P acting to reignite Joe’s sexual desires instead of Joe herself says nothing about the permanent “curse” of nymphomania as it should. If P hadn’t done this, it is possible that Joe would have found her peace, which, again, is an idea in conflict with what the film sets up in the first place. 

Joe’s empathy for the pedophile’s circumstance, having not acted on his impulses and harmed another human being, is interpreted by her as honorable. She states explicitly that for this she thinks he deserves “a thousand medals”. As Joe is relating her own incurable condition, her own curse, to his, we can only conclude that in the event that Joe was not harming anyone in following her natural instincts, Joe believes nymphomania is fine — which is why her son Marcel should have died, it would have been a direct consequence of her pursuing her compulsions. I thought that what we glean as an audience from this extortion scene with the pedophile was good, but that the means by which it was arrived at was unnecessarily complicated. Why couldn’t Joe encounter a secret pedophile in another setting? It seemed like the only successful development of the whole debt collection bit was our increased understanding of Joe taken from this scene, but it could have occurred more simply elsewhere.

Also, given that Seligman has this role of offering counterpoint, not merely foil, to Joe’s beliefs, I found it odd that in the final minutes of the movie, when Joe muses on the idea that if a man had lived the life she had he wouldn’t be judged so unfairly, he didn’t digress into a discussion about the biological investment women have in sex vs men. It seemed to me that this discussion was glaringly avoided, and I'm unsure of why.

Though the end with Joe shooting Seligman felt wrong, Seligman's advances in the final minutes of the movie didn't come off as completely unwarranted to me. Here is a man who, despite claiming empathy, ultimately perpetuates Joe's suffering. It's a bit wonky, and I don't know what else LVT could have done with it, but Seligman basically attempting to rape Joe after positioning himself as her first real friend felt like an appropriate conclusion to this extremely dark story.

Despite Volume II’s inconsistencies, the film as a whole has too many good things about it to be dismissed. Any film that inspires this much contemplation for me is worth seeing (repeatedly).

 

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