Mainstream Spotlight: Nymphomaniac Vol. I

February 4, 2019 | Posted in Celebrity by tucker-bankshot

In the new column Mainstream Spotlight, we shine a light on mainstream films with hardcore sex in them. While this trend is still much more prevalent in Europe than it is here in the States, the indie film scene in the last few years has become much more friendly to sexually explicit films. The advent of streaming has made access to these films even easier, so right now is a great time to be a fan of explicit sex in mainstream films.

For our first two columns, we're going to take a look at the first of Danish provocateur Lars von Trier's 2013 experiment Nymphomaniac. Split into two films due to their sprawling length, Nymphomaniac Vol. I is more or less Seinfeld's "Rochelle, Rochelle" come to life as that film billed itself as "A young girl's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk." The film chronicles the sexual exploits of Joe, played in the present by Charlotte Gainsbourg and in flashbacks by Stacy Martin, the latter in her feature film debut.

Gainsbourg's present-day Joe recants the tales of her first sexual encounters, which led to her becoming—you guessed it—a nymphomaniac, to an older gentleman named Seligman (von Trier regular Stellan Skarsgård). Since the first rule of film is show, don't tell, we the audience are treated to some very explicit and often very titillating scenes of Stacy Martin having sex with a wide variety of men.

Lars von Trier and his actors claimed that the real sex was the work of "digital compositions of pornographic actors onto the bodies of the film's actors." I'm not entirely sold on this being gospel truth, but let's take a look at some of the more explicit scenes in the film and whether or not there's any kind of misdirection or downright manipulation afoot here.

Early in the film, Joe and a friend take a train trip where they compete to see who can hook up with more dudes. Stacy gives her first blowjob on screen in what has been called by von Trier a prosthetic. I have no choice but to take him at his word as the man's pants are never pulled down, making a prosthetic dick much easier to conceal. Good on Martin for giving a very convincing blowie, however...

 

Later in the film, another "prosthetic" is used in a close-up with Martin's face, with these two scenes being the most difficult to debunk...

 

One hardcore insert shot that could very easily be the work of both a vagina double and a hand double is this one in which Shia LaBeouf's Jerôme inspects Joe's vagina after she tells him of losing sensation down there. It's entirely possible and plausible that the close-up insert is the work of body doubles as you can see...

 

As for them digitally manipulating certain scenes to make it look like the actors when in actuality it was adult performers is one argument I just don't buy. Simply put, cgi is not this convincing, even in 2019, let alone six years ago. I don't buy for a minute that there's cgi-trickery afoot in this flick. The possibility exists that they may have digitally darkened this blowjob in order to make it look less fake, but I'm not entirely sure about that...

 

There's also this scene that pretty clearly shows penetration, though again I suppose that the added shadows might be concealing some rather dodgy cgi...

 

The scene that I'm least convinced is the work of cgi or a body double comes during a sex montage late in the film between Joe and LaBeouf's Jerôme. Granted, he may not be penetrating Stacy Martin, but that's his dick and there's definite penetration happening here...

 

Am I wrong here? Have I been duped by world class cgi fakery or were a bunch of mainstream folks trying to distance themselves from the hardcore sexual activity depicted in the film? According to imdb, "Shia LaBeouf was asked to send pictures of his penis in order to obtain his role. He subsequently decided to send in personal sex tapes of him and his girlfriend having sex in order to convince Lars von Trier to cast him."

Shia's not shy about having real sex on film, obviously, so why would he submit to digital trickery? It's not as if LaBeouf has ever cared about his reputation or upholding some sort of façade wherein he's the kind of actor that wouldn't do this sort of thing, so why start with this flick?

Obviously only the people who were there know the truth, but a little bit of sleuthing shows that something just doesn't add up about the various explanations we've been given about how these scenes were achieved. What do you guys think? Am I totally off base or am I on to something here? Sound off in the comments section below and be sure to come back on Friday when we cover Nymphomaniac Vol. II!

Tagged in: charlotte gainsbourg , gifs , lars von trier , mainstream , mainstream spotlight , nymphomaniac , nymphomaniac vol. 1 , shia labeouf , stacy martin ,

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