Nymphomaniac: Volume I Screen 19 articles

Nymphomaniac: Volume I


Nymphomaniac: Volume I Poster
  • I've had a night to sleep on this and I'm pretty certain this is my least favourite LVT movie, even though there is clearly stuff "going on" beneath its glossy surface... From the guy who made something as radical as Dogville, this delivers the most trite sexual awakening-based origin story imaginable, like its been un-ironically ripped from the pages of a dimestore romance novella.

  • It makes one think, as my colleague suggested, that if von Trier felt less obligated or imposed upon to explain himself, he might one day resume making visionary work.Nymphomaniac may well be von Trier’s most overtly anxious film, constantly stopping both to question itself and inform its audience of its intentions.

  • In the end, she is the artist. Von Trier is proud of his provocations yet concerned that the audience may too easily indulge him or, pace David Denby, actually become aroused. Indeed, that, in a sense, is the movie’s punchline. Anxious that he will no longer be able to top himself, von Trier is willing to end Nymphomaniac—if not his career—with a cheap stunt meant to rebuke his admirers, as if to prove that he still can.

  • ...This work feels fundamentally unfinished, as though its maker arbitrarily spliced it around its midway point to get as much distribution and publicity mileage out of the event as possible.... [Though] the director’s defining aesthetic convulsion continues to be the queasiness-inducing jump cut. Few working filmmakers manufacture such unease through cutting alone...

  • Splitting this film in two was moronic, and the rating above reflects the fact that a set of end credits have simply been spliced into its midpoint, leaving what is unmistakably just half a movie. Half of what seems like a pretty fucking great movie, mind you... [It] will almost certainly wind up high on my top ten list, unless the second half takes a pretty steep nosedive.

  • Von Trier is the best advertising person in the movie business, and he has come up with a movie that is an ingenious commercial for itself... There’s a lot of sex shown in “Nymphomaniac,” but von Trier’s depiction of sex acts is blandly pneumatic, mechanical, virtually effortless, and filmed as casually and as indifferently as is the rest of the action.

  • Nymphomaniac not only represents a new direction for Lars, but a new level of directness. It’s not just those music cues, or the fact that his beloved male/female dichotomies are so blatantly problematized here... It’s that despite the sexual explicitness... or the blend of light comedy with violence and abuse, von Trier has taken a break from his puckish provocateur persona to make a film that wants very much to let you know where its maker stands on things.

  • Dark hints aside, von Trier does a masterful job of presenting Joe's life as dominated by and, in large parts, electrified by sex. All other private details—a despised mother (Connie Nielsen) and beloved, doting father (Christian Slater); education; and laissez-faire approach to work—are pushed to the background. More successfully than Steven McQueen in Shame, von Trier manages to convey Joe's acting out as a desperate need to feel alive.

  • For all her self-loathing, Joe’s philosophies – that love is sex with added jealousy, and that the sum of her sexual experiences equates to one lover – are the fruit of refreshingly independent thought. This unabridged version is considerably longer and more explicit (porn doubles were used), but the additions do not feel significant. Joe’s father’s death is the main extended scene – mischievously denying those hoping for arthouse titillation.

  • Nymphomaniac is one von Trier film to which you can’t easily give a thumbs-up—or down—and it’s a dense, labyrinthine undertaking through which you can’t easily find your way. It’s a Dostoevskian sprawl of a creation, at once monstrous and magnificent, infuriating and inspired—von Trier’s most defiant invitation yet to an argument, and an argument, I suspect, that will rage intensely for some time to come.

  • Chaotic and not especially pretty, the film has more of the punkish, radical spirit of Von Trier’s The Idiots than the gloss of his Melancholia. There’s plenty of flesh... but the film is rarely, if ever, what most people would call erotic. It’s neither deeply serious nor totally insincere, undercutting its focus with bizarre digressions (fly-fishing?), a ragbag of acting styles, and humor. It feels like an X-rated farce, with a playfulness that keeps you close.

  • Mr. von Trier is a brilliant, unorthodox director of actors who plays with performance the way other filmmakers play with light. The acting in his work is often unpredictable, almost fluid, and can change moment to moment, scene to scene, creating rippling shifts in the air. One minute, his actors are dragging you deep into the story with raw emotion; the next, they’re pushing you out of the movie with brittle, self-conscious artificiality.

  • The most shocking thing about Nymphomaniac, with its cock-shot montages and frankly descriptive narration, is how flat-outfunny it often is. Has Von Trier finally emerged from the storm cloud of depression that fell over him a few years ago, the one that inspired back-to-back bummers Antichrist and Melancholia? ...No movie—half or full—that introduces the expression “whoring bed” to the cinematic lexicon could be anything less than an instant must-see.

  • The film is not a perfect work and vacillates greatly in quality, particularly in Volume Two, but the successful sequences are so rich in thought-provoking representations of big subjects and so distinctively the work of its singular and taboo-flouting director that it all makes for essential viewing.

  • It can't be overstated how _perfectly_ paired Gainsbourg and Skarsgård are in the framing story, a crucial piece of which is all the editorial mismatching that... realigns and re-filters the duo's dueling perspectives... Meanwhile, the subtexts churn and roil—magma perpetually on the verge of an eruption that came for me when Gainsbourg channeled free spirit mother Jane Birkin in her Vol. 2end credits cover of "Hey Joe." This might be the finest feature-length argument for "edging" ever made.

  • In either edit, the movie remains a ferociously entertaining experience in which one finds von Trier at the peak of his craft, linking together ideas about female sexuality, fly-fishing and artistic creation with equal amounts of playfulness and intellectual rigor. As one surprised journalist told the cast (and, by extension, their absent director) at the press conference, “It was a lot more fun than we expected.”

  • Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 is a film that opens in consuming blackness and, I'm sure, will end there when the curtain falls on Volume II. It's nasty, it's cynical, it's nihilistic, and it may strike some as reprehensible (which is not a moralizing comment on its abounding nudity and graphic depictions of sexual intercourse of sundry configurations). But, to nip a line from The Big Lebowski, at least it's an ethos. It's also von Trier's best film (or best half of a film) since Europa...

  • What’s arguably most compelling about Nymphomaniac is its relentlessly Cartesian organization, a mind/body split that creates all kinds of tension and resonance while steadfastly refusing to integrate its components at a granular level. The impression is of a film as divided against itself as its protagonist—which is of course to say that von Trier knows exactly what he’s doing even as he seems to be throwing up his hands in surrender to the irreconcilable agony of it all.

  • Although there is a constant wealth of sources, influences, cinematic forms and stylistic devices, Lars von Trier could be called the “anti-stylist.” In the creation of this total work of cinema, the forms remain impure and mixed, their differing planes and colors visible like those of a cubist painting. Each space/time in Nymph()maniac has its own color palette...

More Links