Sex sells. And longer, more explicit amounts of sex sells just as well. No one knows this more right now than controversial director Lars von Trier. But though his sex epic (forgive us, Indiewire, for stealing your accurate wording) Nymphomaniac is due to debut in Copenhagen on Christmas Day in all its hardcore glory, one and a half hours have been cut from von Trier’s original piece.
“The short version is against Lars’ own will, but he accepts it because he understands market mechanisms,” said Von Trier’s long-term producing partner Peter Aalbaek Jensen in the Danish film magazine, Filmmagasinet Ekko (as translated by The Hollywood Reporter). “You cannot make a film for more than 60 million kroners (about $11 million or £6.9 million) that is so lengthy. Five and a half hours is so extreme that it reduces market value so radically that investors would have felt they had bought a pig in a poke.”
In a later interview with AlloCine, he said that von Trier would be at liberty to determine what he would do with his extended material, as “after that (the producer’s cut), it belongs entirely to Lars Von Trier to show his personal version, why not in a large festival or in a DVD or Blu-ray Collector’s Edition?”
He added that “It does exist, a version that’s 5 1/2 hours long, and it contains deeply explicit scenes, but it’s not yet finished and cannot be projected in normal conditions. Moreover, nobody in our camp has seen it.”
So as for now, it appears the only version of Nymphomaniac that you’ll be seeing in the cinemas is the four-hour cut. But who knows what will happen? There’s every possibility of von Trier dropping his extended piece on us in all its bare glory at some point in the future.
And yes, that pun was fully intended.