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Article – “No, sex addiction please, we’re British.”


Posted December 5, 2013 by

“No, sex addiction please, we’re British.”

News just in: Lars Von Trier is a big fat, bloody tease. For months I’ve waited with baited breath for a full, official trailer for his latest film Nymphomaniac and finally last week my patience (and endless foot stomping) was rewarded. The trailer follows main character Joe (played by the enigmatic Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her life-consuming addiction to all carnal pleasures at her disposal. The trailer jumps from her teenage years, through adulthood and her countless sexperiences; notably is her first time with the supremely slimy looking Shia Le Boeuf and hardcore BDSM scene with still-dreamy-with-a-riding-crop, Jamie Bell.

For anyone who is familiar with Trier, you’ll know that as a director he doesn’t shy away from the explicit and graphic. His most notable characteristic as a director is his complete, unabashed love of creating scenes that would normally be simulated, look as realistic as possible and despite your view of content such as this in films, you have to admire the chap for that. The trailer is of course VERY NSFW, but who could expect anything less of the director who hires porn doubles to perform the sex scenes? What most critics will be asking, will be is all this attention to sexual detail be necessary to make the film a success. Nymphomaniac seems to be following a similar vein to Steve McQueen’s Shame with Michael Fassbender and his awe-inspiring appendage, in that the plot itself is extremely dark. The sex scenes are often uncomfortable only when there are emotions exposed like raw nerves; the focus upon sex and sexual compulsion is a topic that is not delved into enough within film. Sex is still such a taboo topic amongst cinema-goers, either a film’s sex scene will overshadow a plot entirely – see: wonderful reviews for Blue is the Warmest Color – or they are so painfully awful in execution that it ruins the plot. Clearly with a film which has a plot focusing entirely upon sex addiction is relying heavily on its portrayal of the sex itself, the trailer shows the good, the bad and the ugly of Joe’s desires. It flashes from slightly sinister scenes with her Father, to her salacious teenage smile as she wipes her lips after blowing a stranger on a train. It’s both exciting and terrifying at once, which for many people, is what sex boils down to – it is a constant oxymoron of good/bad, sliding seamlessly between the two into grey areas you didn’t even know existed. Trier seems to have exposed something new here – not only in exploring female sexuality which isn’t nearly explored enough, nor fairly. He’s also revealing something almost beautiful about Joe, her complete control over what she wants and also her willingness to hand control to the men that she encounters.

What I would say to those of you who are dubious, who recoiled in shock and fear at the close-up of semen dribbling down our Nympho’s leg, should give Trier the benefit of the doubt. The trailer shocks, for sure, but I think that is a good thing; when a character is consumed by something, we should also become consumed by it. Joe’s every moment is spent looking for the next person to satisfy her need, she is by definition obsessed and this obsession is what Trier is communicating through every frame of his short (sob) trailer. You aren’t supposed to see past the sex because we should only see what Joe sees and to accept Trier’s explicit tale, you must plunge yourself full throttle into the hazy world of pleasure.

Just make sure you have clean underwear with you when you embark.

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Georgie Barron
Freelance Contributor

One Comment


    I have loved everything I have seen Charlotte Gainsbourg and I look forward to this. You do make a good point about how people will portray the sex in this, but I like movies that challenge me,and yes even make me uncomfortable.

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