Nymphomaniac: Vol 1 性上癮 (2014) – Denmark / France / Germany

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 20th March 2014

Directed by: Lars von Trier
Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe

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What’s so brilliant about “Nymphomaniac: Volume 1” is the manner the director Lars von Trier throws one shock after another to the awaiting and demanding audience. We have grown to expect the unexpected and by challenging the genre conventions, gender stereotypes and society norms and values, Lars have successfully created a new beginning and a new chapter. This is precisely what makes the film all the more entertaining and though-provoking at the same time.

Sex is an important part of the film and undeniably it is rather expressive, but when it adds up to show the character played by both the brilliant Stacy Martin and later Charlotte Gainsbourg are trying to build. Martin in particular shows an edge and youthful selfishness that is both daring and empty. It is the emptiness and loneliness that successfully translate to the audience as no amount of intimacy can overcome her internal and self-issues.

The fact that the film tries to channels and reference numerous work of literature, Bach, methods and psychology of fishing makes us reflect upon ourselves. It is this powerful notion that Lars is so in-depth about that there is easily a notion, a moment or an instance where the audience can see themselves in the mirror. Uma Thurman is simply wonderful in the twisting revenge dialogue at her husband’s cheating as she chews the screen with a level of reality.

All in all, “Nymphomaniac: Volume 1” is simply a film that hooks you and gather your utmost attention. It is haunting that this is only the easy part as the trailer for Volume 2 suggests a much wild and darker times ahead. I wouldn’t say that this is just a daring film, but it is definitely a cynical one. The ending split scenes of three different kinds of love is especially interesting and when Martin screams out that “she doesn’t feel any-more”, Lars smartly weaves open a clever cliff hanger. This is thoroughly engaging film that explores the darker and often hidden form of humanity. It is difficult to rate this film as of now, as everyone is still waiting for what lies ahead. Well at the very least, I am seduced. (Neo 2014)

I rated it 8/10

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