By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist February 6, 2013 at 5:33AM
It's getting on two years since Lars Von Trier made headlines around the world with his ill-advised comments at the Cannes Film Festival, while promoting his film 'Melancholia," comments which saw Von Trier deemed 'persona non grata' at the festival in future. Von Trier's been relatively quiet ever since (even swearing off press altogether), but that's surely about to change, with his two-part new film "Nymphomaniac" on the way before the year is out.
An epic following the sexual life of a woman from birth to the age of 50, the film stars Charlotte Gainsbourg in the lead role, with familiar faces like Stellan Skarsgard, Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell, Christian Slater, Connie Nielsen, Willem Dafoe and Uma Thurman in the cast. And given that the film is set to feature explicit sex scenes, it's sure to be one of the big talking points of the year, even if the first image from the film, just released by UK distributors Artificial Eye, is a fairly tame one.
Retaining the distinctive look of "Melancholia" (Von Trier's reteaming with Manuel Alberto Claro, the Chilean photographer who shot that film), it sees Gainsbourg's character prostrate in an alleyway -- which is presumably where Skarsgard's character finds her after she's been savagely beaten, beginning her recollections of her life. The film's apparently pencilled in for a May release date in Denmark and Sweden, which would normally make sense for a Cannes debut, but will Von Trier be able to persuade the organizers to let him back in, as he hopes? We'll find out in a few months.