Danish film-maker's next movie ? which will follow the erotic life of a woman ? is set to cater for different audience tastes
Viewers of a sensitive disposition will probably steer well clear of a film by Lars von Trier called Nymphomaniac. But those who remain curious will be able to sample the latest work of modern cinema's arch-provocateur-in-chief in a toned-down, "softcore" version.
Legend has it that at least four members of the audience fainted during a screening of Von Trier's Antichrist at the Cannes film festival in 2009, perhaps something to do with a scene in which Charlotte Gainsbourg takes a knife to her own genitalia after doing unspeakable things to Willem Dafoe. Now Von Trier's business partner and producer, Peter Aalb�k Jensen, has confirmed to the Guardian that Nymphomaniac looks at the taboo subject of child sexuality ? and will be released in two versions.
"Lars wants to see the sexual arousement of a girl [on screen]," he said. "Of course you have some legal problems that you have to work around. Right now he's in the writing process."
The film would follow the erotic life of a woman from infancy to middle age, he added.
Aalb�k Jensen added: "If Lars wants to make explicit sex scenes in the film, he also has to make a version that can be shown on TV in Europe. He has accepted that." It is understood that the softcore version will also be aimed at more mainstream cinemas, while those who yearn for the full, uncut Von Trier experience will be directed towards the hardcore version.
Asked if the requirement to produce a self-censored cut indicated that Nymphomaniac (the film's title could be changed) might be even more extreme in its depictions of sexuality than previous works, Aalb�k Jensen said: "I hope not - they are too much for me. I hope it is less violent."
He added: "This will also be a very amusing film too. A bit of fun, and slightly philosophical, following the sexual awakening of a woman." The film will shoot in English next year, probably in Germany or Sweden.
News of Nymphomaniac's split-release lands a few days after the disturbing revelation that Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik listed Von Trier's film Dogville on Facebook as one of his favourite movies. The film-maker, who was thrown out of this year's Cannes after a quip in which he compared himself to Hitler backfired, told Denmark's Politiken he found the suggestion that his 2003 drama might have inspired Breivik horrific.
"I feel terribly bad thinking that Dogville, which is in my eyes one of my most successful films, could have been a kind of script for him," he told the newspaper. "If it means that it had this effect, then I am sorry I have made it."
The 2003 drama ends with the mass murder of all of the residents of the fictional American town of Dogville.
But Von Trier said if Breivik had drawn inspiration from the scene, he must have misunderstood it.
"My intention with Dogville was totally opposite," he said.