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Radmila Djurica

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Domination of Nymphomaniac and Filomena (Lasciviousness Primarily)

The year of film 2014 in Serbia passing slowly. There are couple more  important Serbian festivals to go by the end of this year. For now, the most dominant festival is the International Film Festival FEST 2014.

This year's 42d International Film Festival FEST in Belgrade brought big names to Belgrade: Coogan, Stephen Frears, Ralph Fiennes, Frank Nero, Patrice Leconte , etc. . Glamour above all  the 42nd International Film Festival - FEST 2014 - this year introduced the achievements of world cinema , the best selection of films from the festival in Cannes, Berlin , Toronto and the intersection of interational and local films.

From the presented seventy films , including , for example, " La vie d' Adèle" by Abdellatif Kechiche, who won the Palme d'Or at Cannes 2013, to some local premieres of films. Suffice it to say that 42 consecutive FEST presented Jarmusch's latest film , Polanski , Terry Gilliam , Coen Brothers , Lars Von Trier , Soderberg, Vajda, Ralph Fiennes , Woody Allen , etc. ... Among the guests of FEST we saw Fiennes , Patrice Leconte , Coogan , Stephen Frears , Franko Nero.

However, I think the most important movies of this year's FEST is now most popular  Nymphomaniac  by Lars von Trier  and Philomena  by Stephen Frears. Frears  the one of the most importat  guest fest made a fascinating film on the book Lost Child Of Philomena Lee , published three years ago, written by a true life event. An author here talks about how he helped to uncover the story of the abuse of power , and how dogma and hypocrisy in high places can destroy the lives of many people .

Filomena was a very young girl living with the nuns at Sean Ross Abbey in Ireland since her early pregnancy and no husband. At the beginning of 50s she gave birth to a child. A Catholic Nun Convent sold her son to American family, without her consent, which was a closely guarded secret almost fifty years. The Catholic Institutions in addition of a regular exploitation of young women, under the auspices of religious doctrine lived out of selling children. That's what it was clearly said in the film " Sister Magdalene " by Scottish actor and director  Peter Mullan. Coogan actor and co-writer of the film said at a press conference in Belgrade, that they did not wanted another movie like " Sister Magdalene." I am not sure how that worked. Both films are equally fantastic and equally addresses the same issue. Sold Filomena’s son Antony became a successful lawyer at the Republican Party in America. His adoptive parents called him Michael , the beautiful boy who has, as a young man died of AIDS and was buried in the same monastery in Ireland  and of course Filomena had no idea about it, which is just one of a series of brutal policy of Catholic Institutions.

Film " Philomena " has many facets . On one side it is quite sophisticated and talk about spiritual matters, but also of institutionalized devotion of Catholic believers. The film also has a surprisingly political subtext in relation to the Church, the oppression of women and cruel punishment for sex outside marriage or the so-called " body incontinence " in combination with the homophobia of the U.S. government and the emergence of the AIDS crisis in 80s. Apparently, Filomena knew that her son will be gay by the way he acted when he was little. It is something that is actually impossible and added with style as anti - homophobic pamphlet propaganda. The film is perfectly balanced with attention of viewers to the Martin’s skepticism and faith of Filomena, so that the film actually has it both ways. The part of Filomena has got a fascinating  Judy Dench.

Lasciviousness primarily

The festival this year celebrating the spirit of lasciviousness on film. The movie " Nymphomaniac " another dislocated story of sexual dysfunctions in the combination with  superficial knowledge or interest of filmmakers about very difficult human condition, on more less pornographic (and of course misogynous ) level. After so many successful and above all excellent films , Lars Von Trier with this film managed to garner the attention of hidden perverts of the film jet set, which he probably meant to target in the first place because  unfortunately, in the opinion of many, some money for the budgets of movies in some European countries gets money from porn industry as well. But what is behind the genius director , besides his personal talent and potentialy issued sexual frustration? There are perhaps the hidden film financiers who are often essentially misogynist. And how the whole story fits with the scandal of Lars von Trier 's press conference at the Cannes Festival when we asked the question whether the good old Lars was drunk or just stupid?

I read somewhere that the films of a certain type of filmmakers are always an exercise in anti - climax . They promise disclosures and offer secret knowledge that , in the end , they never deliver . Fascination of Von Trier’s work here lies in the courage, eccentricity and ambition.  It is worrying that his nymphomaniac lack a sense of time and place, something that we can attach to an infinite ambition of this author. This film seems to be Von Trier’s perverse and ingenious experiment. He tells the story of one woman's erotic life very seriously, while it is implausible that a nymphomaniac in the movie has no sense of shame for what she is, which immediately associated me on some porn film scenario. Humor here is storytelling. It is black and above all repressive humor we are talking about.

The musical score is excellent, there is a brutal Rammstein, industrial  metal band at the beginning. We see that Joe ( Charlotte Gainsbourg ) lies in an alley, beaten and good father Seligman ( Stellan Skarsgard ) saves her. He is a friendly stranger with a lot of knowledge but no sexual experience. In preparation for the film , Von Trier supposly talked to his female friends about their sex fantasies. How to believe this: this film is the product of men and not women fantasies. Maybe we should reffer to Bjork. And Von Trier said:"I do not know where we get our sexuality and where the tendency of this kind comes from . Probably it is a perversion created in our childhood and it laments all of masochistic desires and attraction to dangerous men . Eventually, he ( man) becomes a sexual renegade. "

The film has certain wisdom in the dialogue but it is very manipulative and clever when it comes to a media explotation of women on this low budget porno fantasy level.

As in his earlier films " Dogville " and " Manderlay " Von Trier is engaged in stripping an entire machine; it signals that this is a self- reflexive formal exercise or experiment as much as a conventional drama. Embarking on digressions and fly fishing aka Edgar Allan Poe horror stories there are unclear and vague details, such as trees passion of Joe’s father, Christian Slater and Fibonacci numbers, a strange editing, genitals, ambiguous and confusing references in film etc...

I think that the ultimate goal of this film is very unclear.

Von Trier 's thesis are articulated through Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourgh), which tells  that sexuality is the most powerful force in us. Von Trier has no fear to  expose all the taboos: he is ready to trample to be banned from the ground of conventional filmmakers . Maybe the movie  Nymphomaniac is fascinating for someone who like intellectual argue of individual case studies. But there is also the lasciviousness primarily on again not too deep or intellectual level here.


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