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Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2042-7891
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7905



Lars von Trier’s most ‘literary’ and broadly allusive film, Nymph()maniac (2013, 2014) is a throwback of sorts: its characters, formal elements and controversies resemble those of the successfully exported Scandinavian erotic cinema of the 1950s–1970s. I explore Nymph()maniac’s ‘blue’ heritage in terms of three subgenres: the female erotic coming-of-age narrative (as in Sommaren med Monika/Summer with Monika [Bergman, 1953] and Jeg – en kvinde/I, a Woman [Ahlberg, 1965]), the topical/socio-political erotic film (Jag är nyfiken – gul/blåt/I Am Curious (Yellow) and (Blue) [Sjöman, 1967/1968]) and the sex-ed/sexploitation film (the Ur kärlekens språk/Language of Love tetralogy [Wickman, 1969–1972] and Anita – ur en tonårsflickas dagbok/Anita: Swedish Nymphet [Wickman, 1973]). Like these films, Nymph()maniac is an outrageous, experimental and conflicted hybrid. Radically divided – as signalled by the shift from nostalgia and light comedy in Volume I to the dark cynicism of Volume II – it is ultimately propelled by Trier’s desire to restage controversies surrounding sex and female agency.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): 1960s; 1970s; Lars von Trier; Nymph()maniac; pornography; sexploitation
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