Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The art of (being) Lars von Trier

Lars von Trier releases some predictably provocative (and hilarious) promotional images for his upcoming Nymphomaniac

Sun, Oct 13, 2013, 22:02


Oh man. You have to love these promotional pictures for Lars von Trier’s upcoming Nymphomaniac. Aside from anything else, they inadvertently ask questions about what constitutes an erotic image. The character shots feature actors from the film — which does, indeed, concern a sex maniac — pretending to be in a state of sexual completion. Mind you, if the word “nymphomaniac” weren’t on the poster and they were wearing  more clothing it might not be all that easy to deduce what was going on. The cropped image above is unlikely to give online overseers at The Irish Times too much to worry about. Stellan Skarsgård looks a little concerned and aggressive, but there’s not much evidence of orgasm here. Add in the nude torso and the image doesn’t get that much more rude. It looks as if he’s shaping up for a game of British Bulldog. Check out more grimacing from the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg, Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell Christian Slater on the site.

What the snaps do confirm is von Trier’s extraordinary gift for promotion. It’s not enough for him to announce a film featuring explicit sex entitled Nymphomaniac (or, possibly, Nymph()maniac). He has to make two versions of the the thing — one less rude than the other — and lay all kinds of hints about its (their?) release date. The film (films?) will be with Danish viewers at Christmas. But there is, as yet, no news of an Irish and UK arrival time. On top of all this, he undermines the apparent seriousness of the enterprise by releasing these frankly hilarious images. It prompts us to wonder if Von Trier is capable of delivering any message without wrapping it in irony.

No matter. The provocation is part of the fun. Every time Lars angers somebody, the director wins one more private battle. Many more such conflicts will go his way before Nymphomaniac emerges. Can’t wait.