CANNES - Uma Thurman has joined the all-star cast of Lars von Trier's epic pornographic drama Nymphomaniac.
The film, which von Trier is producing as two feature length dramas, is currently shooting in and around Cologne, Germany. It is unclear what role Thurman will play in the film. This will be Thurman's first role in a Von Trier film.
Nymphomaniac stars Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jo, a self- diagnosed Nymphomaniac. One night, an old bachelor, played by Stellan Skarsgard, finds her in an alley, badly beaten. He takes her home to nurse her back to health, while she recounts to him her life of erotic adventure.
I know the reputation that I'm developing among some PJ readers as the prudish love child of Andrea Dworkin and Yusuf Qaradawi. This won't help much, but here we go:
I don't want to see Uma Thurman having sex on film. I hope that if she participates in an unsimulated sex scene they use a body double and she doesn't do something that she'll feel ashamed to tell her daughter about some day.
In September of 2010, on the occassion of the American release of the porn chic art film Destricted, I wrote about why filmmakers will fail every time they attempt to "bridge the gap" between hardcore sex and drama:
What the filmmakers didn’t really address — and what the Daily Beast reporter who lauds this trite picture as “unique and visionary” miss — is that porn and art serve two different purposes. Art stimulates the viewer on intellectual and emotional levels. Porn stimulates the viewer on a sexual level. It’s not possible to really combine these. Why? Because the sexual experience — specifically the porn sexual experience — is about turning off the mental and emotional levels. (The sexual experience between two people who love each other is a totally different subject.) It ruins porn to think about it intellectually or emotionally. It destroys the lie.
Art rises us up, making us explore and reflect upon who we are. Porn brings us down to our most base animal level causing us to revert to seeing one another as little more than objects for our own self-fulfillment.
The quest to combine the two is inherently doomed to failure.
I can't think of a single film featuring unsimulated sex used in a meaningful way. (And during my secular-leftist-hedonist film critic days I saw most of the ones on this list at Wikipedia while searching.) Only Pink Flamingos and Short Bus work -- and that's because they're comedies, using their explicit scenes as low-budget, humorous special effects. John Waters and John Cameron Mitchell are not pretentious©. Von Trier, now making his third unsimulated sex art film, owns the copyright on the term.
Does it make me less of a man to have this position? Or less of a boy?
I agree with this from commenter Azathoth:
Pornographic sex doesn’t work in mainstream movies. And an unsimulated sex scene that looks like a simulated sex scene is pretty much pointless. Something that Von Trier should have learned already. He’s too busy being ‘transgressive’ to learn anythingIn order for unsimulated, graphic sex to work in a mainstream movie it has to be intrinsic to the plot to the point that a simulation wouldn’t work. I can’t think of a situation where this occurs.
Hat tip: Onion AV Club
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