Lars von Trier is ‘happy’ with the two versions of the film; read Screen’s exclusive interview with Zentropa producer Louise Vesth to find out the details.
Zentropa producer Louise Vesth has confirmed to Screen International the launch plans for the two versions of Lars von Trier’s much-anticipated Nymphomaniac.
The shorter four-hour version will launch in Denmark on Christmas Day followed by release in other territories in the first quarter of 2014.
Lars von Trier’s longer, more sexually explicit, approximately 5.5-hour cut will be launched several months later. In addition to the longer running time, that version also has more close-ups of genitals.
“It was written recently that this was done against his will, and that’s definitely not the case,” Vesth explained to Screen on a call from Copenhagen.
“Lars told me he was happy that we could do it this way, for him it was very important that we have a long version for artistic reasons but he understands that we meet the wishes for distribution. It’s in his interest that the film is able to be seen in the different territories.
“This was the way to even make the film at all. If we only had one version he would have had to make more compromises and distributors all over the world would have had to censor it themselves because of various censorship practices.
“It’s a way for the broader public to be able to see the film. Both versions are suitable for the public, but of course when you go very explicit you will squeeze the possibilities of distribution.”
As planned from the project’s inception, both versions of the project are in two parts — the four-hour version is 2 x 2 hours, the 5.5-hour version is likely to be about 2.5 hours for part one and then three hours for part two.
“We decided the short version would go into distribution first so we can send the same film out to the whole world and then, after that, we will prepare the long version for distribution,” she continued.
“We don’t know how and where that one will be distributed. It will be later in 2014.”
While the shorter version is edited to be less explicit with close-up, don’t expect a Disney movie. “There is a lot of nudity and sex in the short version,” Vesth reassured. “It’s not like we put in other scenes or its suddenly telling another story or it’s cutting up the scenes in a different way.”
In Denmark, the film will receive the 15+ (highest) age rating when Nordisk launches it; even the short version is likely to be unrated or get an NC-17 in the US, where Magnolia will release. TrustNordisk has nearly sold out the world on the film.
Plans are still being decided for the launch of the longer version. “All the distributors have to decide for themselves how they will put the uncensored one out,” she said.
Editing on both versions was led by Melancholia editor Molly Marlene Stensgaard, from late 2012 through summer 2013 and with final touches happening now.
Von Trier didn’t work directly on the edit of the shorter version but only for practical reasons.
“For him it was important not to be confused,” Vesth added. “It was important to have a clear vision of one of the versions… We are not sending out anything that he would not agree on.”
‘Work of all times’
With all the talk of the versions, let’s also not forget the film’s creative achievements.
The producer said: “In my opinion it’s his ‘work of all times’. He has discussed a lot of things going on in the world, with people, with sexuality, with relationships, with religion, with art and music, with nature and with civilisation.
“For me, it’s a fantastic masterwork of what he has done. And the actors are fantastic!”
The film can also benefit from an unusually staggered marketing and publicity campaign to build up anticipation for the release by teasing out information, images and videos (all collected at nymphomaniacthemovie.com).
“Lars is a fantastic brand to do a marketing campaign on. There were so many elements and visuals for this film,” Vesth added.
“It used to be that there were no clips and pictures released before his films and it was very secretive. We came up with this idea that we’d do the marketing campaign with the orgasm posters and this very clear look of the actors and characters.”
There will be a press junket in early December allowing journalists to see the short version of the film so they can prepare interviews with the actors (von Trier famously has declared that he won’t do interviews anymore).
There will be a critics’ screening later in December with reviews embargoed.