World-renowned provocateur Lars Von Trier is back with the Nymphomaniac saga. One night while returning home to his modest apartment, Seligman, an older bachelor, discovers Joe, a woman badly beaten in an alley near his home. Seligman takes Joe into his home, tending to her wounds, while asking how Joe found herself in this situation. Joe confesses that she is a nymphomaniac, sharing her erotic stories from adolescence and young-adulthood, giving Seligman a better understanding of how she ended up where he found her, nearly dead. Nymphomaniac Vol 1 is an explicit, but fascinating experience that is far more than the "senseless pornography" which some lesser-minded people have tried to categorize it. While there is no question that Lar Von Triers latest is primarily a study of human sexuality, with a vigorous love vs. lust examination, the film offers a lot more conversation pieces. It seems to me that Lars Von Trier also seems to be commenting on the human condition as a whole, with many characters trying desperately to understand their own nature and the world around them, whether it be through love, lust, religion, authoritarianism, or obsession. The film paints a vivid portrait of the fragility of humanity through this troubled main protagonist, with her nymphomania being just one example of how lost and lonely we all can feel. For much of the film I felt detached from our main protagonist, similar to how she herself views intimacy, with Chapter 4 centered around her father's health worsening being more the exception than the rule. Given that this is only Part 1 of the Nymphomaniac saga I must reserve some of this type of critique, but I am hoping to not feel so detached as I further explore this character's troubled place in Vol 2.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.