Romanian Distributor Appeals Ban on Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol.2'

4:52 AM PST 01/30/2014 by Scott Roxborough
"Nymphomaniac"

Romanian censors rated the second half of the sex epic starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard and Shia LaBeouf pornographic, banning its planned Feb. 7 release.

The Romanian distributor of Lars von Trier's two-part sex epic Nymphomaniac, has appealed a decision by national censors that labeled Nymphomaniac Vol. 2 pornographic and unsuitable for theatrical release anywhere in the country.

“We've filed a formal appeal, (the censor board) now has to watch the film again and give us their verdict, we expect a decision by Friday,” Antoine Bagnaninchi, managing director of distribution company Independenţa Film told THR.

“Totally incoherent” was how Bagnaninchi classified the original decision by the ratings commission within Romanian's National Film Centre, the CNC, to give Nymphomaniac Vol. 2 a IM-18 XXX rating, meaning the film can not be shown in theaters anywhere in the country and can only be sold – on DVD or VOD – to those 18 or older. The first half of Nymphomaniac opened in theaters in Romania earlier this month with an IM-18 rating, clearing it for all viewers over 18. The ratings apply to the edited, theatrical release versions of the films, not von Trier's more explicit directors' cut.

“They've given no reason for why they banned the second half of the film,” said Bagnaninchi. “This is a film that will be released everywhere and Romania is only country in Europe where the film has been banned.”

Nymphomaniac has been given different ratings across Europe, judged suitable for anywhere from 12 year-olds to 14, 15 or 16-year-olds, depending on the territory. The two parts of the epic have been different ratings in some territories. In France, for example, Nymphomaniac Vol.1 was cleared for 12 and up while Vol.2 was restricted to 15 plus. In von Trier's home country of Denmark, Nymphomaniac Vol.1 and Vol.2 were given the highest possible rating, a 15 plus. In general in Europe, sex on screen is judged less harmful to minors than extreme violence.

In fact, the CNC in Romanian gave a similar XXX rating in 2008 to Saw IV for “excessive cruelty and sadism.” The local distributor appealed the ruling and the CNC reversed its decision, allowing the film's release.

Nymphomaniac, which features Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater and Uma Thurman, traces the erotic life of a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac (Gainsbourg) from birth to the age of 50. Both halves of the film feature explicit sex scenes. Nymphomaniac Vol.2, however, includes scenes involving extensive S&M, which may have provoked the Romanian censors. Nymphomaniac producer Louise Vesth and told THR that the second half of von Trier's sex epic is “tougher and darker” but insisted it was “no more explicit” than Vol.I

The films producers, and von Trier, have allowed distributors worldwide leeway to blur certain explicit shots in Nymphomaniac to comply with local censorship laws. Von Trier's directors' cut of Nymphomaniac, Vol.1 will have its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival on Feb. 10.

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