Lars von Trier has never been short on balls. His career has been filled with films that have found the director walking right into a hornets nest of thorny issues, whether it’s slavery (“Manderlay“), the American empire (“Dogville“), feminism (sorta) (“Antichrist“), depression (“Melancholia“), faith (“Breaking The Waves“) or just plain ol’ “spazzing” (“The Idiots“), and so doing a movie about sex seems like the logical next step. But of course, his approach is never as simple as those reductive summaries suggest, and the resulting works are always controversial, exasperating, overreaching, brilliant and fascinating — often all at once. And once again, Lars von Trier is stepping beyond expectations.
Even though it was reported last year that Charlotte Gainsbourg would be reteaming with the helmer for “The Nymphomaniac,” word began circulating today (again) that she was on board. But there’s more. Producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen tells Screen Daily, “We are making two films. It is a big operation. I personally hope that we should be ready for Cannes next year. We will shoot both and edit both – and we want to finish both at the same time.” Um, awesome.
In case you forgot, the film will chronicle the sexual/erotic life of a woman until the age of 50. Jensen confirms previous reports that both softcore and hardcore versions of the movie will be made (“We will probably blur the central points of the human body for the release worldwide but we will probably make one unblurred that will be for screening maybe in Cannes.”), and adds that the first part will deal with childhood and adolescence, while part two will focus on adulthood. But wait, what was that about Cannes?
Even though Lars Von Trier was declared persona non grata at the festival last year and banned from the Croisette following his unfortunate comments, the plan is to shoot “The Nymphomaniac” in Germany this summer and then try and bring it to the south of France next year. “…we have some pretty big names in the movie which proves that in spite of his [von Trier’s] strange quotes from Cannes last year, his value for actors to work with him has never been better,” Jensen says, perhaps hoping that Thierry Fremaux and company will let the situation be water under the bridge. Big stars or not, it will be a very difficult film to turn down. That said, it was Lars von Trier who was banned, not production company Zentropa (who are behind Thomas Vinterberg‘s “The Hunt” which is playing In Competition this year). So Cannes could very well accept the film, though Lars Von Trier may not be asked to come. It will be interesting to watch it play out.
And wait, there’s more good news. Remember last spring, when it was announced that von Trier was going to work with Martin Scorsese on another “The Five Obstructions,” where the latter would be asked to remake certain parts of his films under strict, difficult conditions? Well, it’s apparently still on even though for a moment Lars von Trier wasn’t sure it was happening anymore. “They are talking together, Lars and Scorsese,” Jensen offered. And that’s good enough for us. It’s a great idea, and we’d be excited to see what Scorsese would pull together.
A two part movie about sex and making Scorsese revisit his old films? Even we doubt even Lars has any idea how he’s going to top this.