Film and TV

What Separates Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac from Porn?

Let's start with the ending: the closing credits disclaimer that insists that none of the lead actors in Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac filmed penetrative sex. If there is real sex in the movie, and it sure looks like there is, it must have been done by one of the eight credited sex doubles, listed far down the crew after the cast, somewhere around the caterers and gaffers. (Humble billing, but oh what luscious names -- my favorite was Elvira Friis.) The sex doubles loaned their loins to Von Trier, who digitally stitched them to his actors. In the era of Google image search, the difference between an XXX freeze frame of an actor having sex versus a perfect simulacrum seems technical at best, though I suppose their parents must be relieved.

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Amy Nicholson was chief film critic at LA Weekly from 2013 to 2016. Her work also appeared in the other Voice Media Group publications — the Village Voice, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press, Dallas Observer and OC Weekly. Nicholson’s criticism was recognized by the Los Angeles Press Club and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. Her first book, Tom Cruise: Anatomy of an Actor, was published in 2014 by Cahiers du Cinema.