Will America See The Uncut Porn Version Of Lars Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC?

Magnolia picked up the film, which exists in both softcore and hardcore versions. Which will the US get?

Will America See The Uncut Porn Version Of Lars Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC?

Lars von Trier's latest act of cinematic provocation is Nymphomaniac, a duology that tells the life story of a woman obsessed with sex. Magnolia Pictures picked up the film for North American release based off of a promo reel shown at the Berlin Film Festival; the movie should be a good investment for the company, especially since it'll do quite well on VOD. 

But there are supposedly two versions of Nymphomaniac. One will be a softcore release, while the other will be hardcore, showing penetration and what have you*. The hardcore stuff will likely not be actual actors (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell, Willem Dafoe, Stellan Skarsgard) but rather insert shots** featuring porn actors. The intention that von Trier has for the softcore version, I believe, is to not cut anything, but rather to blur it. From the first page of the Nymphomaniac script:

"Text on black background: “Although the director on principle is of the opinion
that you should be able to show everything, he accepts, under protest, that this
will not be possible here. He will therefore stay within the limits of the law and
occasionally use blurred images."

That's the opening title card of the movie!

So which version will American audiences get? I contacted Magnolia's publicists and was told that they had bought ALL rights to the film, which means they got both versions. There's no way they're releasing the hardcore version on VOD, though. iTunes won't take it, and most cable and satellite VOD won't take it. It can't run on Xbox or the PSN. While Magnolia rarely does big theatrical runs, most theaters will refuse to play a hardcore version of a movie. 

Might they release it, as the unrated cut, on DVD/Blu? Maybe, but I doubt that Wal-Mart or Best Buy would stock that. Amazon probably would, but a hardcore version of the movie would be retail poison in general. Magnolia's a fine label, but I don't think they have the arthouse moxie to go all the way with the movie. I suspect that we won't get the full, uncut/unblurred version in the United States. 

There's a larger aesthetic question of whether or not it matters. Will seeing unblurred sex acts, probably performed by stunt cocks, make a difference? Hard to say, but I tend to err on the side of wanting to see a movie as it's intended to be seen by the filmmaker. von Trier is a bit of a button-pusher, and I think he's pushing lots of buttons with this, but I also think he's smart and talented and pushes buttons in his movies when he's making a point. This isn't like his Nazi joke at a Cannes press conference; this is a calculated move. I'd prefer to see the movie he wanted to make. 

Who knows, maybe Magnolia will decide that there's a market for a limited edition hardcore version that could be sold outside of normal retail channels. That would be cool. It could come wrapped in brown paper or something. Until I hear about such a release, though, I'm assuming I'll be importing the uncut version from a more socially advanced European country.

* What have you. 

** Sorry

Devin Faraci's photo About the Author: A ten year veteran of writing for the web, Devin has built a reputation as a loud, uncompromising and honest voice – sometimes to the chagrin of his readers, but usually to their delight.
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