By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 26, 2013 at 10:18AM
It seems with each passing day the plans are changing for Lars von Trier's provocative sex epic "Nymphomaniac" (which dropped a raunchy trailer last week with plenty of NSFW moments), and in particular, his preferred edit. Word emerged earlier this month that the version of the film heading into release in Denmark and Norway next month and in France in January will run 4 hours long—90 minutes shorter than the director's cut—playing in two parts. Shortly after that, producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen seemed put it on von Trier's shoulders as to the fate of the longer cut, saying, "...it belongs entirely to Lars von Trier to show his personal version, why not in a large festival or in a DVD or Blu-ray Collector's Edition?" But it now seems von Trier's 5 1/2-hour version will see an official release.
Zentropa producer Louise Vesth recently talked to Screen Daily and clarified details about Lars von Trier's longer cut, one described as "more sexually explicit" featuring "more close-ups of genitals" (obviously). Vesth re-confirms that von Trier agrees with the current plans to release the shortened version, and says this was done in order to make it easier to give one slightly softer cut to everyone around the world, rather than having to make specific edits for each territory to conform with varying rules on what can and can't be shown.
“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," the producer explained. “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.”
But don't think that the impact of "Nymphomaniac" has been blunted with the shorter cut. “There is a lot of nudity and sex in the short version,” Vesth notes, with even that cut said to be so explicit it will likely have to be released unrated or with an NC-17 in the U.S.
That said, it is true that Lars von Trier is not involved in the edit of the 4-hour version (that is being handled by Molly Marlene Stensgaard who worked on "Melancholia"), though it's for artistic purposes. “For him it was important not to be confused,” Vesth said. “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.”
So, what is going to happen with the 5 1/2-hour cut? Well, it will also be released in two parts—the first running 2 1/2 hours, the second 3 hours—and it will be coming next year. "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,” Vesth said. “We don’t know how and where that one will be distributed. It will be later in 2014.”
It's still not clear which version will land in the U.S. via Magnolia Pictures, though our guess is that it will be the 4-hour cut everyone around the world is getting. As for the longer version, it will be made available in some fashion, but we wouldn't be shocked if that's one we wind up watching at home.