EURO BEAT: Lars von Trier Expands NYMPHOMANIAC, Plus More Cannes News

Brian Clark, European Editor
Lars Von Trier pretty much stole the spotlight in terms of European film news last week when his producer announced that his "erotic journey," Nymphomaniac will be comprised of two feature-length films which will be ready simultaneously. Combine that with the previously reported news that he'll be making two versions of the film, one more explicit than the other, and you've got something like four new von Trier films to look forward to in 2013! That is, if anyone's actually looking forward to a "soft" version of a von Trier movie.

About that softer version though, producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen went on to say: "We will probably blur the central points of the human body for the release worldwide but we will probably make one unblurred that will be for screening maybe in Cannes." So perhaps the two versions won't be so different after all, though it's hard to be sure when every assertion is prefaced with "probably" or "maybe."

And yes, you read that right, despite his distinguished status as a persona non grata at Cannes, von Trier is still shooting to premiere at the festival. Rumors are circulating again that Charlotte Gainsbourg is on board for the film, but all Jensen would say was that, "we have some pretty big names in the movie which proves that in spite of his [von Trier's] strange quotes from Cannes last year, his value for actors to work with him has never been better."

The film will apparently mix his dogme, hand-held shooting with stylized photography and "beautiful images," which isn't much of a surprise considering that was pretty much the style for his last two movies. Also, Jensen dropped a hint that von Trier and Martin Scorsese had been talking again about a Five-Obstructions-style film in which von Trier will presumably supervise Scorsese as he re-vists/remakes parts of Taxi Driver. But it's just talk, and given the director's current workload, we probably shouldn't hold our breath yet.

Meanwhile, the Cannes Film Festival press releases keep coming! The 65th edition of the festival has just announced the entire feature film jury, which will be headed by Nanni Moretti and includes Hiam Abbass, Andrea Arnold, Emmanuelle Devos, Diane Kruger, Jean Paul Gaultier (!), Ewan McGregor, Alexander Payne and Raoul Peck. For full bios of everyone, check out the press release.

Also, the guests for the festival's master classes have been announced, and it's a bit of a peculiar list. First up is Philip Kaufman, who will give a class on directing. While we could easily go ahead and put him on a pedestal for having co-written the story for Raiders of the Lost Ark, let's not forget that he directed The Right Stuff and The Unbearable Lightness of Being and also wrote the screenplay for The Outlaw Josey Wales. His new film Hemingway and Gellhorn, which stars Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen, will screen out of competition at the festival.  

Then there's composer Alexandre Desplat, who has worked with Roman Polanski, Jacques Audiard, and Terrence Malick, among others. He already gave a Cannes master class about his music in 2006, so this year, he'll be talking about what he's learned from other composers.

Finally, and perhaps most interesting, the actor Norman Lloyd will be giving "a history lesson." Lloyd is most known for co-founding the Mercury Theater with Orson Welles and for his work with Alfred Hitchcock in Saboteur, Spellbound and on Alfred Hitchcock presents. But, actually, a glance at his filmography reveals that Lloyd has worked with a pretty long list of some of the greatest directors ever! To wit: Anthony Mann, Joseph Losey, Jacques Tourneur, Jean Renoir, Charlie Chaplin, Robert Wise and Martin Scorsese. I bet he has great stories.

Before I proceed to the box office, I should note that I am working with pre-Avengers numbers, since estimates across all of Europe for this weekend aren't out yet. But based on the super-hero ensemble's $178.4 million take overseas, it's safe to say that nearly every movie atop the last reported box-office week is about to get knocked down a few notches. So, let's say hello and goodbye to some notable winners from last week!

The Finland-produced Iron Sky has been owning its native country, but in Finland, that doesn't necessarily mean huge bucks. So far, the  sci-fi comedy has taken in 1.7 million dollars and maintained the number one spot for three weeks straight. Just for perspective, the film is only $0.3 million away from topping the cumulative Finland gross for The Hunger Games.

In Italy, despite mixed reactions from the press Woody Allen's To Rome with Love soared to number one, pulling in $3.8 million its first week. Battleship took the top spot in Germany, Greece, U.K., The Netherlands and Hungary, though it was no match for Houba! On the Trail of Marsupilami in France. That film's total now stands at around $40 million, though it likely took a major hit from the opening of The Avengers, which apparently pulled in around $12.7 million its first week out.
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