The last time we saw Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), she was writhing between the sheets, but in a way different than usual: the erogenous zone between her legs had become nearly insensitive, and she could no longer reach orgasm. Obviously, for the title character of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, this is as bad as it gets.
In the first volume, released on December 26, Joe told the story of her rampant sexuality — mostly in bed, but almost everywhere else, too — to the kind stranger Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård). There was her at a young age stimulating herself by sliding face-down on the wet bathroom floor, and then hooking up with strangers on a train in a face-off with her best friend who had equally promiscuous goals.
She fell in love with the boy who took her virginity and kept meeting up with him throughout her life, until he eventually became the cantus firmus in the polyphony of her sex life, as so memorably demonstrated by a three-part split screen accompanied by Bach’s “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” chorale prelude for organ.
This second volume, in which the story continues, is much darker in tone than the first two hours, as it focuses on the consequences of Joe’s loss of sensation. The principal consequence is that for some reason she becomes less vigilant about using contraception and ultimately falls pregnant. At first, she takes care of her son, Marcel, but with the constant absence of her husband who travels on business, and her tumescent desire to reach orgasm once more, she embarks on an odyssey of discovery that involves sadomasochism and ducks.
To read the full review, visit The Prague Post.
(Nymphomaniac Vol 2 poster)