Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 Bared All As Sundance's Secret Screening

While some of us may have been having actual sex last night, moviegoers in Park City, Utah got to have their eyeballs reamed with this year’s secret screening at Sundance, which just so happened to be Lars Van Trier’s Nymphomaniac. Well, the first part of the non-director’s cut of that film anyway. This is probably the one movie where people wouldn’t get in trouble for texting messages as the film was happening, so long as its pictures of their nether regions. Hey, it got Shia LaBeouf a part.

It became something of a guessing game, trying to figure out what film would be showing, and many were able to figure it out based on a few context clues. One, the festival’s program stated the film would last for 117 minutes, which just so happens to be how long the first half of the four-hour cut of the film is. Plus, there was a sign outside the Egyptian Theater that made a point of keeping underage viewers out of there, calling for only those 18 and over with an I.D. required. I’m assuming there were also a line of custodians with their mops and buckets waiting just outside the entrances, as well. But that could have been to mop up all the blood from the Raid 2 screening taking place the same night.

As Variety reports, the theater was packed with 280 people geared up to watch Van Trier’s fleshy follow-up to 2011’s moody apocalypse drama Melancholia, and early word on the film (mostly through Twitter) has been quite positive. Though one attendee’s thoughts of "I don’t even know what that is," is just as memorable as someone offering high praise.

Part ensemble drama and part portrait of how sex can take over a life as easily as anything else, the chapter-filled Nymphomaniac follows Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a 50-year-old woman who was beaten in an alleyway and taken into the home of an elderly chap played by Stellan Skarsgård. While there, Joe relates her life story, and as a nympho, her life story is filled with tales of sexual debauchery, much of which makes its way to viewers’ peppers via actual onscreen sex. (Porn star stunt doubles should never be taken for granted.)

Nymphomaniac also boasts the sometimes clothed performances of LaBeouf, Willem Dafoe, Uma Thurman, Jamie Bell, Connie Nielson, Christian Slater, Udo Kier and newcomer Stacy Martin. The film will be making its non-secretive debut – can it even be called that now? – at the Berlin Film Festival, with von Trier presenting his cut of the first volume. Those not able to hit the festival circuit can find Volume 1 on VOD March 6 and in select theaters on March 21, while Volume 2 will hit VOD on April 3 and in probably the same select theaters on April 18. Get yourself a full-body condom, Frank Drebin style, and check out the film’s NSFW trailer below.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.