Never one for following cinematic convention, Lars von Trier’s highly-anticipated Nymphomaniac has been garnering attention for the past year, even before releasing his installment of chapter previews. The Charlotte Gainsbourg-led erotic odyssey—which he originally suggested to Peter Aalbaek be titled Shit in the Bedsore—has been a grand undertaking for von Trier, who shot over 100 hours of material for the picture, and since has been cutting it down to a proper theatrical length. But “proper” isn’t exactly a term the notorious director is accustom to.
And after premiering brief bits from the feature for the last few months—leaving us all salivating for more—we learn today that Nymphomaniac’s current running time is an epic five hours long. And what’s more, it also appears that producers have been discussing an additional television series to continue the ever-evolving story. The quality of dramatic TV series has drastically improved over the past decade, elevating many of the programs to the level of cinematic endeavors, yes, but this seems a bit confounding—albeit intriguing.
After seeing three teasers, one could already guess, but each chapter “has its own stylistic approach, dictated by content and tone,” including a mix of formal and experimental techniques, with one section being in black-and-white and another in 1.85:1 ratio (the rest is in Cinemascope). While it’s been reported that the film contains no slow motion — unlike his last two features — there is a chapter shot with a static camera, “resting on faces and bodies, as rigid as a surveillance camera, but much closer to the objects.”
And in the decade-spanning story into one woman’s heart of darkness, the beginning of the film is said to be “closer to ‘pure comedy’” before the darker second half takes hold. With Magnolia releasing the picture, the film won’t have it’s theatrical premiere in the US until 2014, where it will also be released on VOD.
Back in May the films producer also went on to say that "Lars has thrown everything in this one. It’s about religion, about God, about philosophy,” speaking to the fact that sex may be the overarching theme but that Nymphomaniac is filled with weighty substance and not only flesh. “There’s so much to talk about with this movie. I hope he changes his mind and starts giving interviews again.” Oh yes, me too.