It’s not a Lars Von Trier movie without some kind of controversy but this time around, it’s not necessarily the content of his upcoming “Nymphomaniac” that’s at issue. Rather it’s the stuff that isn’t going into the movie. It was about a week ago we learned that the official release of the film arriving in Denmark and Norway next month would be a four-hour cut, unseen by Von Trier that would still contain the hardcore sex he shot (as opposed to a separate softcore version that had been rumored—a concept that has since been ditched). Even more, while reports circulated that a XXX cut would play Cannes next spring, they were swiftly denied by producers. So what is the status of Lars Von Trier’s five-and-a-half-hour director’s cut? Well, that’s up to him.
Producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen recently spoke with AlloCine and cleared up the distinction between the two versions of Lars Von Trier’s sex epic (forgive our translation if it’s not completely on point). “It does exist, a version that’s 5 1/2 hours long, and it contains deeply explicit scenes, but it’s not yet finished and cannot be projected in normal conditions. Moreover, nobody in our camp has seen it. Like many other distributors worldwide, we signed right from the beginning for a 4 hour version and that’s the one we decided to release in two parts, the first on January 1st and the other on January 29th [in France]. After that, it belongs entirely to Lars Von Trier to show his personal version, why not in a large festival or in a DVD or Blu-ray Collector’s Edition?”
It should be clarified here that Jensen isn’t implying that Von Trier will own the movie outright but rather it seems he will at least be allowed the right to figure out a way screen his version however he wants. But it would appear that the version Zentropa has made agreements for not just for their own purposes, but with companies worldwide, is for the four-hour cut that’s going out there and it seems that’s where the energy will be focused from the production company (which Von Trier co-founded). So if you’re wondering which version Magnolia will dropping in U.S. theaters next year? It will more than likely be the four-hour cut that everyone else is getting. We’ll just have to wait and see what Von Trier does with his longer cut.
Anyway, a brand new poster for the French release is expected next week, with a new trailer the week after. As for those first reviews? You can expect them not longer after the movie screens for press on December 12th overseas.