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Nymphomaniac: Volume II

The nymphomaniac Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) recounts her life story to a stranger (Stellan Skarsgård) in eight chapters. Part I describes her career as a nymphomaniac while Part II follows the older Joe and shows her descent into ever-deeper ...


With his two-part NYMPH()MANIAC, Lars von Trier presents his most dazzling film to date. Marketed as an “Art house porno,” the film links an episodic structure and explicit sex scenes to tongue-in-cheek philosophical considerations, high-brow references, and political statements that seem to stem directly from von Trier’s mouth. The story is presented in the form of a confession: The asexual Jude Seligmann (Stellan Skarsgård) finds the nymphomaniac Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) badly beaten up in an alley near his apartment. He takes her to his flat and she begins to recount her life story. In eight chapters with titles like “The Compleat Angler“ or “The Eastern and the Western Church (The Silent Duck)” she tells him of her earliest sexual experiences, losing her virginity, her first big love, her experiments with anonymous sex, her multiple lovers, and S&M. She then goes on to recount her attempts to overcome her addiction and her ever more radical renunciation of society. While the first volume, told in five chapters, is presented in episodes that appear reserved and somewhat amusing, the three chapters that make up volume two that detail Joe’s path to isolation are narrated with more intensity. They are darker but more compassionate. As Joe tells her story, Seligman, somewhat titillated, comforts, listens and offers bizarre observations and analogies to her sexual encounters.

The film at times seems dead serious, at other times satirical, and every now and then it seems like an experiment with the audience as the guinea pig. As a whole NYMPH()MANIAC is hard to believe, but then again it is not trying to be believable. Just when you think you found a pivotal point, the film does something new that contradicts that previous thought. The author himself is silent. Ever since his pro-Nazi outburst at Cannes in 2011, Lars von Trier refuses to disclose any information about his work.

Hendrike Bake

Translation: Carla McDougall


Original title: Nymphomaniac: Volume II
Deutschland/ Dänemark/ Frankreich/ Großbritannien/ Belgien 2013, 130 min
Language: English
Genre: Drama
Director: Lars von Trier
Author: Lars von Trier
DOP: Manuel Alberto Claro
Montage: Molly M. Stensgaard
Distributor: CONCORDE CR-T
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Uma Thurman, Stellan Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Bell, Connie Nielsen, Jean-Marc Barr, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pas, Stacy Martin, Mia Goth, Ananya Berg
FSK: 16
Release: 03.04.2014




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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