I’m not sure how many of you saw Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomanic, but now that both parts are on Netflix, you’ve got no excuse not to satisfy your curiosity. I didn’t exactly enjoy it, but I don’t condemn the film either. It’s a rough watch, loaded with the kind of punishing melodrama that Von Trier does so well. I don’t pretend to know a ton about the politics of pornography, but after watching Von Trier’s sticky opus, I definitely feel more opinionated on the subject. While Nymphomaniac is pornographically explicit, it definitely doesn’t feel like a “porno”. But where does one draw the line? We all know what pornography is when we see it, and we all know what the purpose of pornography is, but I would argue that Von Trier’s intention behind the film is not to arouse viewers in the same way that a porno would.
But what happens when all the super-explicit stuff that was cut from the film is put back in? We’ll find out on October 2, when Von Trier’s five and-a-half hour director’s cut will be given a (very limited) theatrical run, along with a simultaneous VOD release. There’s a teaser for the new cut floating around on the web, and in the interest of good taste (weird, right?) I won’t post it here. It’s basically just a short montage of penetration shots and dripping bodily fluids, the likes of which we’ve all seen but don’t talk about.
Now, the big question: is it worth watching? For me, absolutely. As grotesque as the film is, I think it’s a landmark film of 2014. It’s important. It will be talked about in the film crit community for years to come. Other films will be compared to it, and very few will compare to its outright depravity. If you’re curious about what Von Trier wanted when he made Nymphomaniac, you’ll get to find out. Watch at your own risk, chewers.