Sunday, 23 February 2014

Nymphomaniac (4 Stars)

If there's one thing Lars Von Trier likes to do, he likes to shock his audiences and critics. He has created a heavily stylised film about the life of a nymphomaniac, complete with explicit sex scenes. The film was shown today as a one-day-only event across the United Kingdom. The film was given a live introduction from the Curzon Theatre in London, and after the film several members of the cast answered questions posed by the live audience and sent via Twitter. Amusingly, everyone in the Curzon Theatre was given a brown paper bag to wear over their head for a photoshoot, in order to mock the bad conduct of the film's star Shia LaBeouf at the film's premiere in Berlin.

Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) finds a woman called Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) lying injured near his home. She refuses to let him call an ambulance, so he takes her home to let her clean herself up. She then proceeds to tell him about her life, divided into eight chapters based on objects she sees in his room. When she was 12 she had her first orgasm while seeing a vision of Messalina (the wife of the Emperor Claudius) and the Whore of Babylon. At 15 she lost her virginity to a boy called Jerome (Shia LaBeouf). At 17 she competed with her best friend B (Sophie Kennedy Clark) to see who could have sex with the most men during a train journey. That was the beginning of her life as a nymphomaniac.

Seligman listens to her stories with great interest. He points out that her life has been governed by Fibonacci numbers. For instance, when she lost her virginity Jerome thrust into her three times, then turned over and thrust into her a further five times before orgasming. Together they listen to Bach, a man who used Fibonacci numbers to compose music.

Note: The first 10 Fibonacci numbers are 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34

I'm slightly disappointed, because I expected to see the uncut five and a half hour version of the film today. Instead of that a shortened four hour version was shown. Having said that, I can't imagine what's been cut out, because the film that I saw today was so complete. The main impression that the film has left with me is the brilliance of Stellan Skarsgard as an actor. I've been impressed by him ever since I first saw him in "Insomnia" (the original version), but in this film he's better than ever before.

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