lars von trier


V.24 No.3 |

news

The Daily Word in how to do literally everything, APD and Lars von Trier

The Daily Word

We want to teach you how to do everything. Our first effort toward that lofty goal is the first installment of our How to Do Literally Everything issue.

Amelia Olson drops mad skin care kitchen science.

M. Brianna Stallings proposes strategies for surviving ABQ Ride.

Eva Avenue hips you to how to score work as an extra.

Carrie Murphy, a local doula, shares her guidance in creating your birth plan.

Mark Lopez teaches you how to make mixed media masterpieces.

And I want to show you how to fall in love with music again.

Test your knowledge of an APD shooting that made international headlines with this week's Crib Notes.

In other Alibi-related news, contributing writer David Correia was interviewed by website The Real News Network about the struggle against police brutality in Albuquerque. Read more on the subject in his Alibi articles "Is There Justice For James Boyd?" and "Life and Death and APD: Albuquerque's police violence problem."

"Chaos reigns."

But both the theatrical and extended cuts of Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac Volumes I and II are streaming on Netflix. Plus Antichrist and Melancholia. Not convinced? Scope our reviews of Nymphomaniac Volume I and II and Melancholia. Now take your antidepressants and screen some film.

Download OTD = London-based label Blackest Ever Black's latest show on Berlin Community Radio

V.23 No.17 |
"Fighting fire with fire ..."
All photos courtesy of Zentropa

Film

Nymphomaniac Vol. II: Pitch-dark existentialist fairy tale zigs feminist zag

Embattled Dutch auteur Lars von Trier's “Depression Trilogy”—Antichrist, Melancholia and now Nymphomaniac—culminates in a revelatory and arguably feminist existentialist fairy tale. Admittedly, it's more Grimms' than Aesop.

Antichrist is a magical realist horror show, and Melancholia is a Wagnerian sci-fi epic. Triptych finale Nymphomaniac is an existentialist torture “porn” double-feature. Released in two parts, Vol. I left the audience at terror-struck anticlimax as protagonist Joe fails to achieve orgasm. The psychodrama of Vol. II dances widdershins on a dark, twisty path paved by the sexploitation genre. Where Antichrist examined medieval witchcraft and the history of gynocide and Melancholia expertly manipulated ownership of knowledge and the imagination of disaster, Nymphomaniac explores patriarchy and stigmatized female desire.

With minimal introductory pomp, a soft-focus lens captures young Joe (Stacy Martin) mourning carnal summit. Again the viewer is voyeur to asexual nerd Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) and present-day Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and their sex-and-fly-fishing tête-à-tête. Joe recalls the inception of her lust—it involves levitation, spontaneous orgasm and the Whore of Babylon. Seligman's weakest digression ever, toward Jesus' transfiguration on the mount, Zeno's paradox of Achilles, and the divergence of essential doctrine of Eastern and Western Church doctrine inspires Chapter One's title.

“The Eastern Church and The Western Church (The Silent Duck)” explores the incongruity of monogamy with Jerôme (Shia LaBeouf)—and attendant pregnancy, domesticity and complex maternal emotions—with Joe's longing to be overfull. Contentment is transmuted, and Jerôme's reluctant consent to an open marriage sets the stage for unfamiliar and increasingly masochistic sex. Highlights include Joe's matchless revamp of fuck-me clothes, an entirely nonverbal encounter with two African fellows, and engaging the services of professional dom K (Jamie Bell). In escalating sessions with sadistic K, Joe's submissive alter ego “Fido” prizes dogged pursuit of the little death above all else. A campy demo of “the silent duck” segues into a hurled teacup, betraying sentimental anger, and the next passage is named for spectacular reflection.

“The Mirror” observes Joe compulsively, injuriously masturbating in an office bathroom and communicating (mostly with herself) in employer-mandated sex addict meetings. She earnestly tries to gain some control over her addiction and consequent self-mutilation. Working the steps means reducing exposure and removing incentive. After witnessing Joe's version of sex-proofing an apartment, you'll never see your bathroom sink or mirrors in quite the same way again. Joe's kilometer-wide stubborn streak rears up just shy of a month of sobriety. She rebels against the twelve-steppers, proclaiming her refusal to erase her own obscenity so the bourgeoisie can feel safe. A tea stain and irreverent references to the literature of Ian Fleming provide the cut-up lead-in to resolution in “The Gun.”

The workaday world isn't for her, and she meets L (Willem Dafoe), who initiates her into the unscrupulous world of “debt collection.” Her general facility with and knowledge of men and their desires and fears proves useful in the world of heavy handed persuasion to pay. L pragmatically inspires Joe to mentor an at-risk 15-year-old P (Mia Goth). In the world of extortion, parenting happens on a whole 'nother level. A mentee acts as a right hand, and as amoral L half-sneers, some might even do time for their surrogate advocate. Joe attends P's basketball games for three years and eventually wins her loyalty at the age of maturity.

Gainsbourg illuminates the role of outsider, a wholly sexual woman whose very existence stands in opposition to the patriarchy of both the Church and secular culture. Seligman delivers a fervent feminist polemic on how Joe's behavior would be perceived entirely differently were she a man: Vol. I's train games with BFF B (Sophie Kennedy Clark) and home invasion by a bitterly jealous spouse (Uma Thurman) would have fallen flat if Joe's chromosomal makeup offered so-called “reason” for aggression and infidelity.

Unabashedly demanding her sexual rights as a woman, Joe serves as a lightning rod for wounded souls in a largely puritanical world. Given his self-professed asexual nature and thus “unique” insight into Joe's story, Seligman declares his superior fitness to judge her goodness. But this is von Trier land. Yet another chance encounter with Jerome tells of the violent prelude to Seligman discovering her in the alley. The resounding, pitch-black ending renders a film marketed as a (black-and-) blue movie into a horse of a different color; and in doing so, it unmasks all its characters' true natures and the commonplace tedium of evil.

V.23 No.13 | 3/27/2014
Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) talk sex and fly-fishing.
Zentropa

Film Review

Nymphomaniac: Volume I

Lars von Trier’s fetish is the specialization of knowledge

The first volume of the final installment in Lars von Trier's "Depression Trilogy," Nymphomaniac finds a battered sex addict talking sex, polyphony and fly-fishing with a bookish fisherman.
V.20 No.48 | 12/1/2011
Disney’s newest princess movie looks weird.

Film Review

Melancholia

Waiting for the world to end in Lars von Trier’s latest

What with his extensive résumé and his multiple Cannes Film Festival awards, Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier has more than proved his skill behind the camera. But even longtime fans are forgiven for being hesitant when entering a von Trier movie these days. The icy auteur has demonstrated an increasing taste for heaping traumatic levels of physical and psychological abuse on his leading actresses (Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves, Björk in Dancer in the Dark, Nicole Kidman in Dogville, Charlotte Gainsbourg in Antichrist). If the guy is not an unrepentant misogynist, he sure is convincing at playing one on TV.

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V.20 No.20 |

news

The Daily Word: 5.20.11: Judgement Day mostly

The last Daily Word of all time is mine!

The Daily Word

Believers say goodbye because tomorrow's Judgement Day

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister get tense.

Atheist entrepreneur charges for post-Rapture pet care.

The guy climbing the building at Effex dies.

How do we know it's Judgement Day? Some portions of the theory here.

New treatment helps paralyzed man stand, walk.

Filmmaker Lars von Trier announces he's a Nazi and is banned from Cannes

Guatemalan First Lady to divorce husband and run for president herself.

Italian anger over ugly statue of the pope.

Some British film critics give the highs and lows of this year's Cannes Film Festival

Facebook event Post Rapture Looting had more than 520, 000 friends this morning.

Newest from The Oatmeal: how fun it is to help someone move.