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Melville
03-07-2014, 12:44 AM
http://emertainmentmonthly.files.word press.com/2014/01/nymphomaniac-poster.jpg

Melville
03-07-2014, 12:47 AM
So good.

Melville
03-07-2014, 03:35 PM
Volume II: not as good.

Boner M
03-08-2014, 05:15 AM
Volume II: not as good.
Was your prior "so good" just for the first part? Cos I agree. Part 2 felt really scattershot and under-realised. Maybe the longer version will be more illuminating, but I dunno.

The Gainsbourg/Skarsgard tête-à-tête remains constantly entertaining throughout, though. "That was one of your weaker digressions" - quote of the year.

wigwam
03-08-2014, 05:32 PM
Pretty disappointing and Lars's second worst to Manderlay. There's little pockets of greatness and I loved all of the Greenaway-ish text and the snippets of Tarkovsy-ish nature inserts but hated all the scenes of Gainsbourg and Skarsgard spelling out all the subtextless meanings of the flashback chapters and their on-the-nose reflexivity of the storytelling. And it was zero surprise that everything with LaBouf was unwatchable garbage (I love that he and proto-LaBouf Christian Slater are cast to do accent work, haha, oh Lars).

More of what I loved: Uma's scene where she plays my mom, the 3-part polyphony thing at the end of the first half, the section with Willem and the coked out Stop Making Sense version of Burning Down the House (although it and the credits version of Hey Joe are embarrassingly literal). The part with the self-help group was great. The scene with Jean-Marc Barr was probably the highlight of the film. I'm going back and forth on the ending, I immediately disliked it but had been expecting something along those lines and the more I think about it the more I'm coming around to how great it fits. But still, my high expectations notwithstanding, this wasn't very good at all.

Melville
03-09-2014, 12:29 PM
Was your prior "so good" just for the first part? Cos I agree. Part 2 felt really scattershot and under-realised. Maybe the longer version will be more illuminating, but I dunno.

The Gainsbourg/Skarsgard tête-à-tête remains constantly entertaining throughout, though. "That was one of your weaker digressions" - quote of the year.
Yeah, I jumped the gun after the first part. I loved its picaresque structure and tone: the life and adventures of a sexual sociopath, told through digressionary conversations with a man divorced from humanity in an entirely different way. The Godardian style of playful fourth-wall-breaking is brilliant, and the whole thing is hilarious. I even loved the hodgepodge of accents.

The second part I also thought was great until it ran into Willem Dafoe's character. Before that, the dark humor of the first part transitions really well into pathos and tragedy in the second part, exploring genuine difficulties navigating the world, struggling with one's own nature and desire, and making intimacy work. I thought the stuff with Shia LaBeouf, their kid, and the sadist was excellent (and I'm glad its repetition of Antichrist's opening scene didn't exactly duplicate that movie's developments, instead putting an alternative spin on the same idea). But once Defoe is introduced, everything really does feel undeveloped, especially the last twenty minutes or so. Those final scenes make sense thematically, but even then they feel out of place in the extremes of their pessimism, and at least one of them seems to come out of nowhere, character-wise.

Still, as a whole I'd put it near the top of von Trier's filmography.

Pop Trash
03-22-2014, 05:17 PM
I really wish Magnolia didn't split this. I would have easily sat in the theater for another two hours.

ledfloyd
03-22-2014, 06:25 PM
I wasn't able to finish the first part, but my reaction is pretty similar to wigwams. A lot of her stories felt pretty juvenile, and Skarsgaard and Gainsbourg spelling out all the subtext in the present was pretty grating. The Uma scene was the only one that seemed in any way inspired, and even then it was pretty silly. It just felt like most of the stuff about Lars I dislike the most was turned up to 11 on this one. The opposite of Melancholia. Maybe I'll try again sometime down the road.

Qrazy
03-23-2014, 12:15 AM
I thought there was a lot to like here even if it draws it's parallels a little too clearly. However, it must be said that Von Trier can not resist the urge to make his endings unnecessarily provocative, pessimistic and final which utterly unravels so much of the good will he's built up prior.

Gizmo
03-23-2014, 09:40 AM
Just finished Volume 1. Looking forward to the second part, though I guess I'll approach with caution after glancing through this thread. I'm really engaged in the story, almost forgetting how graphic some of the scenes really are. Uma Thurman has stole this thing so far.

Pop Trash
03-23-2014, 07:28 PM
Uma Thurman has stole this thing so far.

"Would it be alright if I show the children the whoring bed?"

Qrazy
03-23-2014, 08:44 PM
Passive aggression brought to new heights!

---

I found that while I didn't dislike either of the actresses playing the nympho I did feel there was a disconnect between their performances. Stacy Martin effectively played the role of the emotionally disconnected sociopath whereas Gainsbourg seemed much more emotionally effected by her situation. I think either performance could work for the character but I don't think they compliment each other effectively.

Izzy Black
03-24-2014, 12:46 PM
Vol. 1 is excellent, but I haven't watched Vol. 2 yet. I hear it's worse and I suspect that I won't like it as much, especially given what I've seen and what I expect to happen.

Qrazy
03-28-2014, 04:46 PM
Does anyone have a measured defense of the Fibonacci sequence stuff? I found the 5+3 thrusts thing rather silly but maybe I missed something.

ledfloyd
03-28-2014, 09:26 PM
Does anyone have a measured defense of the Fibonacci sequence stuff? I found the 5+3 thrusts thing rather silly but maybe I missed something.
I think that's about when I started rolling my eyes.

Derek
03-28-2014, 10:31 PM
Does anyone have a measured defense of the Fibonacci sequence stuff? I found the 5+3 thrusts thing rather silly but maybe I missed something.

What. Is that not how you have anal sex?

Qrazy
03-28-2014, 10:58 PM
What. Is that not how you have anal sex?

Only on tuesdays... but yeah I get the whole falling in love with the guy you lost your virginity to angle but less so if his sexual antics involve a total of 8 thrusts and then it's have a nice day.

Pop Trash
04-05-2014, 05:46 AM
I found the very end of this obnoxious as all get-out. So contrived.

Bosco B Thug
04-05-2014, 10:31 PM
Galvanizing, yes. The whole film, the ending, etc. But I was remarkably unruffled by most his provocations. I guess I've fully acclimated to Von Trier's current phase of colorful, post-commercial, post-arthouse discursive excess, and it only makes me smile that someone goes there. I'd have been pleased with a more benign ending, but it speaks some truth: Seligman was more than a little cloying.

Ivan Drago
04-07-2014, 11:07 PM
I saw both parts back-to-back at the movie theater. SO. FUCKING. GOOD.

Spinal
04-09-2014, 01:17 AM
I'll reserve judgment until seeing Part II, but so far ... I don't know. Once you delve into numerology, you've lost me. And the casting of LaBeouf and Slater is pretty distracting to me. I don't really have emotional investment so far, though I expect Gainsbourg will take center stage in the next film. Maybe that will help.

Qrazy
04-09-2014, 08:37 AM
I found the very end of this obnoxious as all get-out. So contrived.

He's basically the anti-Spielberg with his endings and it rings just as false.

Spinal
04-09-2014, 07:23 PM
I've also realized that Anthony Dod Mantle makes a huge difference. Missed his work here.

Pop Trash
04-11-2014, 02:03 AM
He's basically the anti-Spielberg with his endings and it rings just as false.

I've made this exact comparison re: Dancer in the Dark w/ some of my movie nerd friends and they didn't get it. Basically you can make a "manipulative" movie with an unhappy ending just as much as the typical proverbial Hollywood Happy Ending. Incidentally, I enjoy both Spielberg and Von Trier at least some of the time.


I've also realized that Anthony Dod Mantle makes a huge difference. Missed his work here.

Did you watch vol. 2 yet?

Qrazy
04-11-2014, 05:12 AM
I've also realized that Anthony Dod Mantle makes a huge difference. Missed his work here.

The DP on this shot Melancholia though.

Qrazy
04-11-2014, 05:13 AM
I've made this exact comparison re: Dancer in the Dark w/ some of my movie nerd friends and they didn't get it. Basically you can make a "manipulative" movie with an unhappy ending just as much as the typical proverbial Hollywood Happy Ending. Incidentally, I enjoy both Spielberg and Von Trier at least some of the time.

Did you watch vol. 2 yet?

Yeah they are both formally strong filmmakers. My issues are typically with their narrative choices and some of their thematic developments.

Spinal
04-11-2014, 08:16 AM
Did you watch vol. 2 yet?

Doesn't hit the theater here until next week.

Spinal
04-22-2014, 01:52 AM
Well, shoot. In many ways, I greatly preferred the second part of this film. Call it lowered expectations. Call it my own disturbed sensibilities. But I found myself far more engrossed in the tale this time and found myself far more connected with Joe's plunge into the darkest parts of herself.

But no, that final scene is unforgivably lazy. There had to be a better way to resolve those characters' arcs. I don't mind that the ending is dark or cynical. I mind that it is not very imaginative and so it made no impact on me whatsoever.

Taken as a whole, I think this is a watchable film with some courage and some insights. But pitted against the director's previous work, it seems fairly unnecessary, particularly when Antichrist explored similar themes with more economy, honesty and poetry.

Ezee E
05-20-2014, 09:14 PM
There's touches here and there that I absolutely like. Chapter 1, seems like Von Trier in form. Even if the whole fly-fishing comparison is kind of silly, it's at least engrossing.

After that it loses its touch, and by Chapter 4, I lost all interest. Christian Slater's still around? I applaud the effort, but laughed at his freakout scream.

I'm a fan of Von Trier. Like Cronenberg, I really never know if I'm going to love/hate his movies. I'm guessing Part II is of similar style here, and have no interest after Part I.

Dukefrukem
06-29-2014, 07:28 PM
Volume I is so good. So good. But hard to put it up against Antichrist or Melancholia which I both adore. I'm holding off on Volume II for now.

The Uma Thurman scene just perfect.

Dukefrukem
06-29-2014, 07:30 PM
Pbut hated all the scenes of Gainsbourg and Skarsgard spelling out all the subtextless meanings of the flashback chapters and their on-the-nose reflexivity of the storytelling. And it was zero surprise that everything with LaBouf was unwatchable garbage

Agree and these are my two biggest problems with Vol I. I tried to ignore the explanation scenes but along with the imagery of lures going through the water, it's burned into the viewers mind. Why did he feel he needed to do this?

Qrazy
06-30-2014, 03:54 AM
Well, imo the film isn't much of anything without those scenes. I'm not saying they aren't frequently on the nose but cut them out and all you're left with is some trollop flouncing about town.

Dukefrukem
06-30-2014, 11:17 AM
Well, imo the film isn't much of anything without those scenes. I'm not saying they aren't frequently on the nose but cut them out and all you're left with is some trollop flouncing about town.

Maybe not cut them out but water them down for sure. I enjoyed the overlay of charts and graphics on the screen, but to hammer home some explanations feels a bit... forced.

Yxklyx
07-25-2014, 11:57 PM
This did nothing for me. Bring back the days of Epidemic at least. No plans to watch the second part.

Melville
08-01-2014, 07:29 PM
Maybe not cut them out but water them down for sure. I enjoyed the overlay of charts and graphics on the screen, but to hammer home some explanations feels a bit... forced.
I don't think the charts, graphics, fishing analogies et al. really serve as explanations. They rarely explain anything. Instead, they're translations. They translate the protagonist's sordid experiences into her interlocutor's sexless, academic frame of reference. A lot of the film's humor comes from how poorly that translation works, the absurd contrasts it creates. The narrative is structured around the protagonist and her interlocutor attempting to communicate and understand each other, and as the ending shows, the whole attempt is a failure: the two characters have not understood each other at all.

Skitch
08-11-2014, 10:29 PM
I've not enjoyed any Von Trier I've seen so far, but was compelled to watch this. I think this is easily the most watchable thing he's made, which is odd considering how graphic it (needlessly) is. I am going to disagree with most in this thread; I liked part 2 better than 1.

Part one had several sections that felt unnecessarily exploitative. In fact, I think this film would have worked a lot better on a whole if he had shot/cut around the penetrative sequences, and then it probably could've have remained as one film (as it should have). Part two felt more clinical, which was how I prefer tackling the subject of Joe.

Also, I was happy the gun didn't go off. I know Jerome is kind of a scumbag, but after all she did to him I was more irritated at her than him. Is it just me?

I completely agree with (forgive me) whomever said the ending felt contrived earlier in the thread. That was so unnecessary, and added nothing to the story for me.

So I will give this a weak thumbs up. I'm still not a fan of Von Trier's art, but I appreciate it. Its different and unique, just usually not my cup of tea.

Kirby Avondale
08-18-2014, 01:58 AM
Byzantine art had graphic crucifixions. Lots of them. Movie is a failure.

quido8_5
08-22-2014, 04:19 PM
Well, imo the film isn't much of anything without those scenes. I'm not saying they aren't frequently on the nose but cut them out and all you're left with is some trollop flouncing about town.

Well, I've only seen Vol. I, but definitely wanted to chime in here. Definitely agreed with Qrazy, here. Those scenes are on the nose and over-the-top, but it's clearly intentional on the part of Trier. Considering how ridiculous the material is to begin with, this style makes an odd sense. The primary footage I found particularly effective, though it's the terrific acting that sells it.

The movie, in general, I found to be one of Trier's more opulent and effective efforts in terms of style. Although it seems to be contentious on here, I found the chapter about Jerome to be one of my favorite scenes in the film. It was also just enjoyable- I was almost having fun, which I was not expecting to ever experience watching Lars von Trier.

In addition, Uma Thurman is just off the chain terrific in this. Most painful scene I've watched in a long time.

Pop Trash
08-22-2014, 05:06 PM
The director's cut is coming to blu ray with a rather amusing cover of Von Trier standing inside a vagina...err...parentheses. It makes me wish I liked this more.

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Nymphomaniac-Blu-ray/111254/

Kirby Avondale
08-23-2014, 04:09 PM
Well, I've only seen Vol. I, but definitely wanted to chime in here. Definitely agreed with Qrazy, here. Those scenes are on the nose and over-the-top, but it's clearly intentional on the part of Trier. Considering how ridiculous the material is to begin with, this style makes an odd sense. The primary footage I found particularly effective, though it's the terrific acting that sells it.

To me it feels like a lot of deck stacking in the service of not particularly biting satire/social commentary/provocation. Straw men and a nympho mascot plopped into a lot of conceits that tease at being kind of cool, but don't really get there. It's Lars at his least illuminating and least affecting.

quido8_5
08-23-2014, 09:15 PM
To me it feels like a lot of deck stacking in the service of not particularly biting satire/social commentary/provocation. Straw men and a nympho mascot plopped into a lot of conceits that tease at being kind of cool, but don't really get there. It's Lars at his least illuminating and least affecting.

I think it's a stretch to consider any of those scenes as social commentary or satire. Last time I checked, Lars is quite a bit more blunt when considering social mores (final scene of Dogville). Conversely, I believe the real crux of Nymphomaniac's argument is in basic human moralism. The metaphor of a fish being caught by attractive bait isn’t just about men liking sex. That’s pretty obvious. From what I saw, this was more a debate about who's to pity: the fish or the angler. As the scene protracts and we see Skarsgard's total ambiguity, it's clear that this isn't about society, it's about humanity. In addition, the emotional underpinnings of every sexual encounter Joe has (especially on the train, when she’s doing everything for ulterior motives) carries a profound weight. Not to mention the fact that the obviousness of the metaphor is pointed out by Joe and immediately batted down by the Seligman’s rationality.

This is a little off topic, but I’m also not seeing what straw man Trier might be positing. As for the nympho mascot, she’s nothing if not multi-dimensional. To think of her solely through the frame of her actions I feel misses the point. Joe, more than any other character, understands the self-destruction of her “sexual addiction” and how intimately it’s wrapped up in other, more deep-seeded, emotional conflicts.

Kirby Avondale
08-24-2014, 03:58 PM
I think it's a stretch to consider any of those scenes as social commentary or satire. Last time I checked, Lars is quite a bit more blunt when considering social mores (final scene of Dogville). Conversely, I believe the real crux of Nymphomaniac's argument is in basic human moralism. The metaphor of a fish being caught by attractive bait isn’t just about men liking sex. That’s pretty obvious. From what I saw, this was more a debate about who's to pity: the fish or the angler. As the scene protracts and we see Skarsgard's total ambiguity, it's clear that this isn't about society, it's about humanity. In addition, the emotional underpinnings of every sexual encounter Joe has (especially on the train, when she’s doing everything for ulterior motives) carries a profound weight. Not to mention the fact that the obviousness of the metaphor is pointed out by Joe and immediately batted down by the Seligman’s rationality.
We can call it what we like, but I don't see social commentary or satire as excluding reference to humanity more broadly. That's something of a false choice and a narrow reading of my beef. The movie's tone, especially in the frame narrative, is definitely lathered in a heavy dose of parody, its target being the kind of human foibles Lars has built his career on. Seligman is one of his sub-targets and a consistent object of derision. That in itself isn't a big deal. Where the movie falls flat for me and where one of the straw men comes in is the flatness of his role. He's mostly there to mock a type that Lars has been dumping on for a while now: the benevolent liberal man, a naive, over-rationalized, unwittingly exploitative figure. It feels pretty played out by now, and when you're working in caricature, as Trier often has with this role, it dries up pretty quickly. He challenges the audience a lot less when it feels like, creatively, he's challenging himself so little.



This is a little off topic, but I’m also not seeing what straw man Trier might be positing. As for the nympho mascot, she’s nothing if not multi-dimensional. To think of her solely through the frame of her actions I feel misses the point. Joe, more than any other character, understands the self-destruction of her “sexual addiction” and how intimately it’s wrapped up in other, more deep-seeded, emotional conflicts.
Oh, she's definitely a mascot and defiantly characterized by her moniker (clear in the first half, I think, and clearer in the second), but this has substantially less to do with her actions than it does her testimony and the whole thrust (har har) of the film. She's not a mascot for nymphomania, but Trier's take on nymphomania, which is concerned with all that self-destruction, with the power dynamics and the critique of women's liberation that much of the film is about. She has dimensions alright, though I'm not quite convinced there are all that many or that events like the train ride reveal some profound emotional weight underlying her character. Oh well.

quido8_5
08-24-2014, 10:30 PM
We can call it what we like, but I don't see social commentary or satire as excluding reference to humanity more broadly.

Society, from what I understand, is an agreed upon set of rules- at very least, on screen, that would be what someone might subvert. Von Trier, which is what impressed me so much about this effort, is attacking exactly that type of singularity with much of Nymphomaniac. Seligman avows himself (awkwardly, I admit) as someone who is supremely amoral. At first this struck me as contrived and a convenient excuse for Trier to again push-the-envelope; however, as the movie progressed it became a useful tool to explore some of the implications that play out in the despicable decisions his protagonists always choose. As self-commentary, this might be cute. What made it work this time around, though, is just how expertly crafted the film is. What should've come off as a genre exercise became, at least for me, a profound statement about elemental, personal shame. Whether society cares or not, Joe will still feel terrible about herself and will, also, continue doing what she does best: fuck and feel guilty about it.


That's something of a false choice and a narrow reading of my beef.

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to synthesize your reading, just my own.


The movie's tone, especially in the frame narrative, is definitely lathered in a heavy dose of parody, its target being the kind of human foibles Lars has built his career on. Seligman is one of his sub-targets and a consistent object of derision.

Seligman, more often than not, acts as the film's center of gravity. I have a hard time thinking that this almost painstakingly objective character gives the least bit of a shit about any of the intended derisions cast upon him. In fact, they'd probably make his character laugh (as so many observations about his nihilism make him laugh throughout the film).


[...] the movie falls flat for me and where one of the straw men comes in is the flatness of his role. He's mostly there to mock a type that Lars has been dumping on for a while now: the benevolent liberal man, a naive, over-rationalized, unwittingly exploitative figure. It feels pretty played out by now, and when you're working in caricature, as Trier often has with this role, it dries up pretty quickly. He challenges the audience a lot less when it feels like, creatively, he's challenging himself so little.

I'm still struggling with this definition of a straw man. Trier is trying to make an argument about something and instead of making that argument he says that Seligman is flat and; therefore, ? This seemed like such an uncharacteristically honest effort and, where I'd normally agree with you about Trier using a straw man, I felt like this was one of the few times I could actually take the story on its' word. In other words, it was believable in a way that I'm not sure he's achieved until now.


Oh, she's definitely a mascot and defiantly characterized by her moniker (clear in the first half, I think, and clearer in the second), but this has substantially less to do with her actions than it does her testimony and the whole thrust (har har) of the film. She's not a mascot for nymphomania, but Trier's take on nymphomania, which is concerned with all that self-destruction, with the power dynamics and the critique of women's liberation that much of the film is about. She has dimensions alright, though I'm not quite convinced there are all that many or that events like the train ride reveal some profound emotional weight underlying her character. Oh well.

I can't speak to the second half, but in the first half I'm pretty sure that she's the opposite of a mascot. She herself hates being pigeonholed and hates the inevitability that she may be a nymphomaniac. Worse yet, she's worried about the possibility of actually caring and, worse yet, loving another person. This comes out most impressively in what could potentially be a critique of women's lib (which I'm not sure is actually a critique) segment with the best friend and the "secret ingredient being love." This line is so obvious and star-shot that it rings something true in the context of the film. What's more, it exposes Joe for the insecure and thoroughly human being she is. Her layers are frayed and easily observable. Although she claims numbness at her indiscretions, it's clear through every masochistic wondering she has with Seligman that she's aware, unhinged and profoundly anguished by her actions. That makes me care about her character.

Kirby Avondale
08-25-2014, 12:03 AM
Society, from what I understand, is an agreed upon set of rules- at very least, on screen, that would be what someone might subvert. Von Trier, which is what impressed me so much about this effort, is attacking exactly that type of singularity with much of Nymphomaniac. Seligman avows himself (awkwardly, I admit) as someone who is supremely amoral. At first this struck me as contrived and a convenient excuse for Trier to again push-the-envelope; however, as the movie progressed it became a useful tool to explore some of the implications that play out in the despicable decisions his protagonists always choose. As self-commentary, this might be cute. What made it work this time around, though, is just how expertly crafted the film is. What should've come off as a genre exercise became, at least for me, a profound statement about elemental, personal shame. Whether society cares or not, Joe will still feel terrible about herself and will, also, continue doing what she does best: fuck and feel guilty about it.
I don't know what you mean by the first two sentences, but your claim that Seligman is an avowed amoralist (you even call him a nihilist elsewhere) seems plainly wrong to me. He's constantly moralizing, soothing, trying to put a good shine on things. It's just that his moral code is not only permissive, but also supportive of her nymphomania, reluctant to acknowledge the downsides she's constantly trying to shock him into seeing. On the train, she takes the dude's seed that he was saving to inseminate his wife and Seligman demurs: hey, I've read such-and-such that says this might've made him more fertile! No matter how awful the dude felt about himself.



Just to be clear, I'm not trying to synthesize your reading, just my own.
Well, you were trying to contradict my reading, saying that the film didn't deal in satire or social commentary, but human commentary. But I don't see that an either/or applies here.



Seligman, more often than not, acts as the film's center of gravity. I have a hard time thinking that this almost painstakingly objective character gives the least bit of a shit about any of the intended derisions cast upon him. In fact, they'd probably make his character laugh (as so many observations about his nihilism make him laugh throughout the film).
I wouldn't call him painstakingly objective either. He's constantly rationalizing, making excuses and filtering her story through his frame of reference, typically to laughable result. He's naive, out of touch and stuck in his own head. Whether or not his character would care that Trier treats him derisively is beside the point. His construction is still based in derision.



I'm still struggling with this definition of a straw man. Trier is trying to make an argument about something and instead of making that argument he says that Seligman is flat and; therefore, ? This seemed like such an uncharacteristically honest effort and, where I'd normally agree with you about Trier using a straw man, I felt like this was one of the few times I could actually take the story on its' word. In other words, it was believable in a way that I'm not sure he's achieved until now.

Not sure where you got that. I said that Seligman is flat. There's little to his character beyond potshots at the castrated intellectual, the clueless liberal. Trier plays softball with himself by making him an easy target. You seem to think that we can take him and the story at their word, but I don't think that could be further from the truth. One of the biggest reasons for the frame narrative is to throw doubt on the content, the reliability of the teller and the listener. There's the sense that she's toying with the audience and more than a sense that he's not understanding.



I can't speak to the second half,
You should remedy that.



but in the first half I'm pretty sure that she's the opposite of a mascot. She herself hates being pigeonholed and hates the inevitability that she may be a nymphomaniac. Worse yet, she's worried about the possibility of actually caring and, worse yet, loving another person. This comes out most impressively in what could potentially be a critique of women's lib (which I'm not sure is actually a critique) segment with the best friend and the "secret ingredient being love." This line is so obvious and star-shot that it rings something true on the context of the film. What's more, it exposes Joe for the insecure and thoroughly human being she is. Her layers are frayed and easily observable. Although she claims numbness at her indiscretions, it's clear through every masochistic wondering she has with Seligman that she's aware, unhinged and profoundly anguished by her actions. That makes me care about her character.
I think you're still misunderstanding what I'm saying she's a mascot for. She isn't, again, a mascot for nymphomania as such. She's a mascot for Trier and his commentary on nymphomania. Her self-hatred is part of the point, since team Trier isn't looking to trumpet the ideals of liberated female sexuality, but to cast doubt on its naiveté. In Seligman's case, we're talking really damn naive. And this goes a lot further than her anti-love collective, incidentally.

quido8_5
08-29-2014, 08:51 AM
I don't know what you mean by the first two sentences, but your claim that Seligman is an avowed amoralist (you even call him a nihilist elsewhere) seems plainly wrong to me.

Cool. So, from what I saw, Seligman's character is a rationalist who lives outside the realm of social acceptance. In those two sentences, I was getting at Hume's idea of basic nature and how society is built. Seligman, I thought, enjoys engaging in a world that is outside of agreed upon (and arbitrary) rules about what's right and what isn't. If he's not a nihilist (which, yeah, isn't accurate), he's definitely not the kind of dude who’s totally down with societal norms.

From what I saw in the first part, Seligman seems somewhat concerned about Joe's feelings but far more stimulated by the thought experiment of placing her actions outside of social stigma. One of the things that I particularly loved about the entire film is how sentimental it was and didn’t dwell interminably on the woes of society. In the past I've felt like Trier has a tendency sermonize (I mean, this is the guy who doesn't care too much about subtlety when he's trying to make a point and called one of his most substantial bodies of work: USA – Land of Opportunities); however, in this film his commitment to storytelling and ambiguity was refreshing.

I could definitely be misunderstanding what you're saying Joe's a mascot for; however, I don't think that Trier's trying to give commentary on Nymphomania, he's trying to create a picture of one person: a nymphomaniac. Whereas in many of his previous efforts he brings societal norms to judgement, in this case he's got Seligman to be there as an objective observer and help us enjoy the ride (and, also, kind of hate ourselves after said ride). Maybe it changes with the second part, but his rationalizations throughout the first part seemed due less to naivety than to curiosity.

Kirby Avondale
08-30-2014, 12:18 AM
Cool. So, from what I saw, Seligman's character is a rationalist who lives outside the realm of social acceptance. In those two sentences, I was getting at Hume's idea of basic nature and how society is built. Seligman, I thought, enjoys engaging in a world that is outside of agreed upon (and arbitrary) rules about what's right and what isn't. If he's not a nihilist (which, yeah, isn't accurate), he's definitely not the kind of dude who’s totally down with societal norms.

From what I saw in the first part, Seligman seems somewhat concerned about Joe's feelings but far more stimulated by the thought experiment of placing her actions outside of social stigma. One of the things that I particularly loved about the entire film is how sentimental it was and didn’t dwell interminably on the woes of society. In the past I've felt like Trier has a tendency sermonize (I mean, this is the guy who doesn't care too much about subtlety when he's trying to make a point and called one of his most substantial bodies of work: USA – Land of Opportunities); however, in this film his commitment to storytelling and ambiguity was refreshing.
I don't trust that Seligman is an objective purveyor of natural virtue. I don't really trust the natural-artificial distinction in general. He may disagree with the predominant moral conventions, but he's still implicated in others. It's just that they're of a naively liberal variety, a reductio ad absurdum. Blowing off the first class blowjob as just giving the guy a memorable experience and ensuring that his sperm didn't sour isn't getting at a natural principle (Hume certainly wouldn't ought that is) - it's betraying Seligman's obliviousness to the emotional and ethical content of the scene, of commitments that run deeper than a simple conflation of the social, the artificial and the mistaken.



I could definitely be misunderstanding what you're saying Joe's a mascot for; however, I don't think that Trier's trying to give commentary on Nymphomania, he's trying to create a picture of one person: a nymphomaniac. Whereas in many of his previous efforts he brings societal norms to judgement, in this case he's got Seligman to be there as an objective observer and help us enjoy the ride (and, also, kind of hate ourselves after said ride). Maybe it changes with the second part, but his rationalizations throughout the first part seemed due less to naivety than to curiosity.
I don't think Trier is interested in a character study. He's not after slavishly rendering a human being just for the sake of it. He's after shocking people's preconceptions and challenging social norms. In this case, preconceptions of female sexuality is the subject and his vehicle, a nymphomaniac. He insists on the term. When you finish the movie, I'd steer you to this article (a lot of Vol. 2 spoilers), as it hits on several points I've been making:

http://www.avclub.com/article/tomorrow-sex-will-be-good-again-nymphomaniacs-sex--203030

Kurosawa Fan
12-13-2014, 05:47 PM
Finally got around to this. Wish I hadn't. I found it turgid, silly, and dull. Won't be bothering with Vol. II.

Pop Trash
12-13-2014, 10:39 PM
Finally got around to this. Wish I hadn't. I found it turgid, silly, and dull. Won't be bothering with Vol. II.

I think it's intentionally 'silly'. I found vol. 1 to be pretty funny/cheeky actually, it's vol. II that gets really turgid.

TGM
04-12-2017, 09:31 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi-kEPrc6o0