April 1, 2014

"Sex: The Terror and the Boredom."

Title of an article in The New York Review of Books about the Lars von Trier movie "Nymphomaniac." Sample text:
However lumpy and tasteless it may be, his gruel is not without its raisins. There is a very funny montage in which young Joe tells a succession of lovers that they have given her her first orgasm; a tumultuous sequence in which an abandoned wife... accompanied by her young children, confronts the home-wrecking young Joe, volubly and at great length; a charming religious vision that, among other things, satirizes von Trier’s erstwhile model, Andrei Tarkovsky; and a scurrilously farcical scene in which mature Joe is sandwiched between two squabbling slices of male bread.
Gruel with raisins... squabbling slices of male bread...

The chances that I'll ever bother to see "Nymphomanic" are close to zero, but I know who Andrei Tarkovsky is, and I have my DVD of "Andrei Rublev," and even if I would get its being satirized, I don't really need that any more than I need to see sex made terrifying and boring.

15 comments:

Titus said...

I love Lars movies.

Rob McLean said...

Gruel with raisins... squabbling slices of male bread...

You're doing it wrong.

Rick67 said...

"But I know who Andrei Tarkovsky, and I have my DVD of "Andrei Rublev"'.

Moments like this I must remind myself that I am already happily married.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

That's how you get fear-o-moans.

YoungHegelian said...

Maybe you could combine Andrei Rublev & Nymphomaniac and have Jo get sandwiched between two squabbling pieces of invading Tatar pumpernickel.

rhhardin said...

Sex scenes are okay if done for humor.

rhhardin said...

See, this one is okay.

William said...

That's the plus side of porn. You no longer have to sit thru crap like Last Tango in Paris just to see naked women.

Freeman Hunt said...

We watched Andrei Rublev not long ago. Not a repeater. "That was good. I'm glad it's over."

Ann Althouse said...

"We watched Andrei Rublev not long ago. Not a repeater. 'That was good. I'm glad it's over.'"

What I did (I think with one or both of my sons) is keep trying to watch it, so that we had watched the beginning — which feels slow and mysterious — many times without continuing. I got very familiar with that. I never forced myself to grind through the whole thing, just enjoyed it for what it was without making an ordeal out of it.

Eventually I got far enough into the story that I kept going through the whole thing.

That's something you can do with the DVD.

The alternative is to commit to sitting through the whole thing when (if) it's in a theater… that's an experience I that's always halfway an ordeal for me.

Ann Althouse said...

"always halfway an ordeal for me"

I mean for ANY movie.

I do not like to submit to the physical and mental control that is film/video. I like to do things at MY speed and be free to move around.

Ann Althouse said...

Film: The Terror and the Boredom.

Ann Althouse said...

Notice that with a film like "Nymphomaniac," what you are submitting to mentally and physically is sex. You consent by sitting down and not leaving, so I'm not going to say it's rape-y, but it is a very submissive sexual experience and you get what your dominator (the movie-maker) has decided you should have.

Robert Cook said...

"I do not like to submit to the physical and mental control that is film/video. I like to do things at MY speed and be free to move around."

Whereas I prefer to see movies in a theater. The large, dark space, the audience--which brings a sense of expectation and whose collective reaction to the film amplifies my own--the huge screen covered with multicolored moving light and shapes...it's like entering into a dreamworld, and I want to be caught up in it and overwhelmed by it.

Watching videos at home, on the smaller screen, with the distractions of home--bathroom, fridge, internet, phone, etc.--and the capacity to pause the movie, make for a less engaging, more disjointed experience...for me.

I've seen two Tarkovsky movies: SOLARIS and STALKER, both based on Russian science fiction novels. (I'd read SOLARIS the novel before seeing the film, but I had not read ROADSIDE PICNIC, the basis for STALKER, before seeing the film). In each case, the novels are better than the films, but the films have their attractions. I recently read a new translation of ROADSIDE PICNIC and I was moved to buy the dvd of STALKER to view it again. I enjoyed it much more on second viewing. With an understanding of just what the heck was supposed to be happening, the film did not seem so abstruse or opaque. That said, I'll repeat: the novel is better than the film.

But then, we're supposed to consider a film as its own thing--to use the retro term of the day--and not compare/contrast with the source material...aren't we?

Robert Cook said...

A work colleague of mine--who is a huge admirer of Von Triers' work, and who, as a freelance journalist and critic, has interviewed him--has seen NYMPHOMANIAC 1, (as, yes, part two will be released shortly), and he enjoyed it very much. He says it is not at all a titillating or prurient film and is not intended to be. I don't intend to see it--though I did see and sort of enjoy MELANCHOLIA, Von Triers' big movie of a couple of years ago, starring an international cast and depicting the end of the world as another planet collides--at the end, (of course!)--with Earth.