Lars Von Trier has always had an interest in pushing film technology in pursuit of just the images and, importantly, the production practices he wants and needs.
Breaking the Waves was revolutionary in its combination of low-light filming and post-production colour correction, and sowed the seeds of what later became the Dogme movement.
Dancer in the Dark shot some sequences with one hundred small, low-cast cameras running simultaneously.
Dogville patchworked images from multiple cameras into seemingly coherent aerial views, while much of the rest of the film was shot with a device mounted on Von Trier’s head.
And The Boss of it All apparently employed the computer-controlled Automovision system, randomly twisting parameters of the cinematography.
Now, just as I’d expect, he’s using tech in an unusual way once again with Nymphomaniac.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the film’s producer Louise Vesth gave some idea of how Charlotte Gainsbourg, Shia LaBeouf and Uma Thurman, amongst others, will be shown engaging in hardcore sex on screen.
We shot the actors pretending to have sex and then had the body doubles who really did have sex and in post we will digital impose the two. So above the waist it will be the star and the below the waist it will be the doubles.
And I dare say this would get far trickier if the actors weren’t to interact “in that way” solely below the waist. I suppose this limits the kind of acts Von Trier can portray explicitly – and I imagine the limitation has caused him some frustration.
And it could also limit the kind of camerawork, depending on the kind of budget they’re spending on VFX. How mobile is the viewpoint going to be in this film, I wonder? I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of tableau, something like the overtures to Antichrist and Melancholia.
Nymphomaniac will be released in two parts, each of them in both hardcore and softcore versions, later this year.