Posts From Author: christian slater

“Go for the pleasure first, always”: Lars von Trier’s NYMPH()MANIAC, Vol. I

Spoilers throughout. Be warned. “I discovered my cunt as a two-year-old,” says Charlotte Gainsbourg’s Joe a few minutes into Lars von Trier’s new film, NYMPH()MANIAC. Forgive the language — but if part of the purpose of reading criticism is to assess what one might want to see or read, it’s important to be upfront: this is an extremely graphic film, sexually. Still, if you enter Joe’s story with the open-mindedness of her samaritan-confessor, Stellan Skarsgård, there’s much to enjoy. Trailer just about safe for work — but careful what you google: NYMPH()MANIAC is the third film in von Trier’s informal trilogy on the theme of depression that began with Antichrist (2009) and was followed by Melancholia (2011). Like its predecessors, NYMPH()MANIAC features a hyper-stylised opening sequence that sets the tone for the rest of the film. First we see nothing — but we hear the drip-drip-trickle of rainwater and the distant sound of trains. Then the opening shot, a deserted alleyway, played in silence. A series of beautiful close-ups follow, sound reattached: rain falling on dustbin lids, an abysmal vent in a grimy wall. Cut to a wide shot of Gainsbourg lying wounded and unconscious, and a stunning, abrupt blast of Rammstein on the soundtrack, reminiscent of Michael Haneke’s use […]
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