n°105/ Gustave Courbet & Lars von Trier

January 2014


by Nathalie Azoulai

Lars von Trier's last movie has been released as the saga of sex. The Nymphomaniac posters tell the story through ecstatic faces belonging to men, women, young girls, elderly etc. saying it could be me it could be you. But the initial long mosaic shot focused on Charlotte Gainsbourg's single face to launch the second part of the movie. And every time I came across the picture, I couldn't help thinking about another picture hard to identify though. Until I eventually did. It's called The Origin of the World. French painter Gustave Courbet painted in 1866, setting off a big scandal. No wonder: it's all white sheets, parted thighs, hairs and, in the middle of all, a vagina, bigger than life. …You may charge me with a biased obsessive syndrome and you may be right but what's so striking about this Nymphomaniac poster, is the way a man, Lars von Trier, is willing to show the big secret, the opening female gap, a mouth/a vagina, with hairs/hair all around, as a treasure buried under a forest of leaves.

Images are so full of viewers'fantasies…