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Controversial Danish director Lars von Trier has, for the first time in his life, given up final cut for one of his movies, allowing others to trim down his hotly anticipated two-part sex epic Nymphomaniac.
In an in-depth article on the making of the film, to be published in Danish cinema magazine Filmmagasinet Ekko on Wednesday (Nov. 13) and provided to The Hollywood Reporter in advance, von Trier’s longtime producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen said the director delivered a 5½-hour cut of the film. But the version that debuts Dec. 25 in Copenhagen for the world premiere will be just four hours — and divided into two two-hour features.
“The short version is against Lars’ own will, but he accepts it because he understands market mechanisms,” Ekko quotes Jensen as saying. “You cannot make a film for more than 60 million kroners (about $11 million) that is so lengthy. Five and a half hour is so extreme that it reduces market value so radically that investors would have felt they had bought a pig in a poke,” Jensen says.
Ekko cites insider information that von Trier hasn’t even seen the shorter version of the film that will be unspooled to Danish and then global audiences.
Jensen says the cuts were purely for commercial reasons and not to eliminate any of the films’ many explicit sex scenes. There were initially plans to release both a hard-core and soft-core version of Nymphomaniac but those plans have now been abandoned. Instead there will be just the hard-core version but distributors in individual countries can decide to blur whichever elements they find unacceptable. The Danish version will go out with all the explicit sex intact and in focus.
What is still unknown is when and how von Trier’s longer director’s cut will be released. Jensen denied reports that the film would go to the Cannes Film Festival next year.
Nymphomaniac is billed as the story — from age 5 to 50 — of a self-confessed nymphomaniac, the older version of whom is played by Charlotte Gainsbourg. The film features an all-star ensemble cast including Stellan Skarsgard, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman and Connie Nielsen among others. Magnolia will release the film in the U.S.
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