Lars von Trier on 'Nymphomaniac': 'I can't make a film about the sexual evolution of a woman without showing penetration'


Image Credit: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images

Lars von Trier is certainly no stranger to controversial film subjects (uh, Antichrist, anyone?), but even he recognizes that his next project, Nymphomaniac — which will show the sexual evolution of a woman from birth to age 50 — might be a tough sell. The 55-year-old  filmmaker confirmed that the potentially explicit material (which he is currently writing and hoping to shoot next summer) might need to have two versions — a hardcore cut and a more mainstream-friendly one. “It depends a little bit on how it’s financed,” he says. “As a cultural radical I can’t make a film about the sexual evolution of a woman from zero to 50 without showing penetration. I know it’s something very European,” he laughs. However, “that doesn’t mean it will be a porn film, “he says. “It principally it is a film with a lot of sex in it and also a lot of philosophy.”

The Danish director is currently promoting the moody and beautiful Melancholia, which first premiered at Cannes (EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum called it a “moving masterpiece,” noting that it’s, “a movie acutely attuned to feelings of despair that nevertheless leaves the viewer in a state of ecstasy.”). Kirsten Dunst took home the prize for best actress, but the film’s accolades were overshadowed by the press conference where von Trier’s Nazi comments had him declared “persona non grata” by the festival.

“I find it very difficult to be a politician or a diplomat,” von Trier says, who issued an immediate apology, and who compares himself to the character Clumsy Hans by Hans Christian Andersen (“a very Danish character”).  “In my real life I always say far too much and have to say I’m sorry to people. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s not and this was not funny.”

Another unfunny subject are reports that Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian who killed 77 people on July 22, listed von Trier’s 2003 film Dogville as one of his favorites. “That was quite scary,” he says. “It’s very easy to see the parallel of what happened on that island and the last scene of Dogville. No film is worth 77 lives.”

Read more:
Lars von Trier issues new condemnation of his Nazi remarks

Comments (20 total) Add your comment
  • Gupta

    I read what you wrote

  • Ann Coulter

    I agree. A movie such as this must show penetration. In fact, it demands it.

    One question: What’s penetration?

    • RickterScale

      Bend over and I’ll show you.

    • DRG

      Ann Coulter — it’s what you do to Michelle Bachmann every night.

    • Rachel Maddow

      If we’re talking two women and penetration, I’m there.

      • @Rachel

        We’re not talking about two women. We’re talking about Michelle Bachmann and Ann Coulter.

      • Rachel Maddow

        Still sounds kinky. I’m there.

  • Juanita L

    Penetracion? Por Donde?

  • Woot

    Really excited to see Melancholia, it looks interesting and beautiful. I have to say though, I feel like the very large prudish section of America may be hard to sell a movie like “Nymphomaniac” to.

  • Cambot

    It’s like saying ‘I can’t make a film about a murder without actually killing someone’. A true artist doesn’t need to be so literal and obvious. This guy is the most over-rated hack in the business.

  • Ryan

    What a sick twisted chauvinist, to say he needs to show penetration to get inside a WOMAN’s point of view. FYI most woman prefer getting oral and can’t even orgasm with penetration, so what you are doing is in fact porn because porn is just as much a dishonest man’s fantasy as your tripe! LOVELY, a movie about sexuality from a man who looks like he’s never had consensual sex with a women he wasn’t paying, I’m sure he thinks he knows all about it; such as how stupid woman are for not seeing him as the sex god he is. If he said yeah we’ll need to see real oral I’d probably even agree, but he’s obviously never even seen a woman truly orgasm so I’m sure this will be a great movie.

  • John


  • Cygnus

    Actually, his idea sounds like any of a million other euro-trash films that disguise soft-porn behind high-art. NetFlix is littered with those films in their Foreign and Gay/Lesbian sections.

  • morrisseyfan

    To those who say he doesn’t have to show us that you’re right, but then again art can also be about showing so its really his call and I am sure he will produce another stellar provocative film. I don’t think it makes him a chauvinist to want to put it in considering we know nothing of the script outside of the outside readers who describe it as very funny. So considering his last 2 films, and his previous comedy work I have high hopes

  • ace

    why does this guy keep making the same movie over and over again? a female lead who gets naked, usually has some psych issues and gets beaten down in some form or another.

  • morrisseyfan

    Well there actually isnt that much nudity in LVT films, but his protagonists usually are different in terms of philosophy and what they are used to explore its just a matter of which trilogy is being discussed

  • Lardo

    So why is this schlep so interested in making movies about penetration anyway?

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