Nymphomaniac Vol. 1

2014 (Lars Von Trier) R, 117 minutes

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin

The nymphomaniac of the title is Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), whose life is chronicled for about four decades or so and who narrates her life story to Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard), an asexual intellectual who's all mind where Joe, the nymphomaniac, is all body. Seligman, a secular Jew, has literally picked her off the pavement, where he found her bloodied and almost unconscious. He's worried about her and wants to call an ambulance, though she insists that's not necessary and that she’s a "bad human being" and it's all her fault. Seligman finds this hard to believe. The story of how she got there encompasses almost her entire life, seen in long flashbacks.

"Nymphomaniac" is indeed a major work that tries and, to a large extent, succeeds to organically synthesize the world, ideas and filmmaking savvy of von Trier in one sprawling and ambitious cinematic fable. Somewhat shockingly given the subject matter, the most stimulating material in "Nymphomaniac" isn't the explicit sex but how sexuality is discussed and understood. 

Boyd Van Hoeij, indieWIRE.

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