Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Lars Van Trier becomes indulgent with "Nymphomaniac Vol. 1"
Lars Van Trier has produced some interesting works, but when he gets focused on just one or two characters he gets self-indulgent. That seems to be the case with “Nymphomaniac Volume 1”. Does this really need two movies?
The movie opens with a blank screen for some time, making one wonder if something is wrong. Then Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) finds a woman Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) passed out in an alley,
The film comprises each character telling life narratives. Joe tells the stories of her allowing men to abuse her. Some of the sequences are interesting, like when she applies for a job and is astonished at the idea that she should have experience. In some scenes, the physical passion is explosive, something of which I am not capable, as if it were some personal cross to bear – but only when others want to barge in and demand that I compete in their world.
Seligman’s narratives can get interesting, as when he talks about mathematics (a Fibonacci sequences is shown on the screen) or organ music, or, particularly, the Russian revolution, and how the Bolsheviks parsed the parasitic bourgeoisie from the “proles” as it crashed into estates, that would soon be “gone with the wind”. With music, he gives an interesting explanation of polyphony in Bach. The role of the “tritone” (two minor thirds) in music, and the supposed controversy, is explored. “Since the music has three voices, I will limit myself to talking about three lovers”, Joe says in response.
Some sequences are in black and white.
The official site is here.
The film is now on Netflix instant play, and Amazon. It played at Landmark E Street in downtown DC in 2013.