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Nymphomaniac: Vol. I (2013) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot

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Summaries

  • A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.

  • A man named Seligman finds a fainted wounded woman in an alley and he brings her home. She tells him that her name is Joe and that she is nymphomaniac. Joe tells her life and sexual experiences with hundreds of men since she was a young teenager while Seligman tells about his hobbies, such as fly fishing, reading about Fibonacci numbers or listening to organ music.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • The film starts with a repetitive sound effect in the dark. Its finally revealed to be machinery pounded by rainfall. After several minutes of this, we see an unmoving hand on the pavement.

    The peaceful sounds of the wind and rain is taken over by loud heavy metal music on the soundtrack. We see inside someone's house. The man (Stellan Skarsgård) puts on a scarf and goes on a walk. He picks up some bait from a tackle store, then makes his way home. He stumbles upon what is revealed to be an unconscious middle-aged woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) on the ground. He wakes her up; she is badly beaten and bloody. He tells her to lie still and hell get an ambulance. She tells him 'no', she doesn't need an ambulance and if he calls for one or the police, she will leave before he can return. He points out she is hurt and asks if she wants anything and she asks for a cup of tea and milk. He takes her inside his home.

    Inside, she drinks some tea. He tells her he will wash her clothes; she asks him not to wash the coat. He asks what happened and asks if she was robbed. She says it's her fault because she's a bad human being. He asks her if she wants to talk about it. She says she doesn't know were to start and then notices he has a fly on a fishhook, on the wall. He tells her about fly-fishing, how the fly resembles something the fish like to eat and because its light, the line has to be heavy. She asks if he fishes a lot and he says he doesn't catch much. He tells her he used to love a fishing book as a kid, The Complete Angler, which was a romantic Bible to him. She then realizes she knows where to start and says shell have to tell him the whole, long story.

    CHAPTER ONE: THE COMPLETE ANGLER

    The woman explains that she discovered her bait, her cunt, as a two year old. Five years later, she and her girl friend, B, lock themselves in the bathroom, take off their underwear, fill the floor with water, then slide around, rubbing themselves on the floor. The girl's mother, Katherine (Connie Nielsen), knocks on the door and the young girls quickly mop up. The woman says she loved her father, a doctor, very much but her mother was a cold bitch who always had a bad turn when she played Solitaire. In P.E., the narrator enjoyed climbing the rope for the sensation of it hanging between her legs. She says the only difference between her and other people is she always demanded more from the sunset, more spectacular colors when the sun hit the horizon. In present day, she says that's perhaps her only sin. He asks why shes suggesting children are sinful; she corrects him, she is not claiming children are, only her. He says he doesn't see sin anywhere in her story but hes not religious; she says its because he doesn't know the rest of the story and shes not religious either. He asks why she would take the most unsympathetic aspect of religion, the concept of sin, and let it survive beyond religion.

    She continues the story. As a young girl (10 years old), the girl casually looks up body parts in an anatomy book while her father (Christian Slater) observes. The two go out on a walk. He tells her a story about how the ash tree made all the other trees in the forest jealous because it was so beautiful and flawless; but in the winter, when it lost all of its leaves, the other trees noticed the ash trees black buds and started laughing, saying Look, the ash tree has had its fingers in the ashes. She loves hearing his stories so much, she sometimes pretends she has forgotten them so he will tell them again.

    In present day, the man explains the fly on the wall is called a nymph and is the early stage of an insect. She explains that, as a young nymph, it was imperative of her to get rid of her virginity. She knew a boy at 15 who had a moped, so therefore she considered him sophisticated. She visits him; (it is revealed to be a young Shia LaBeouf). She asks him point blank to take her virginity. He agrees. Beforehand, he works on his moped and realizes its not working. He requests she takes off her knickers and then he humps her three times. We see a graphic counting to the number 3. She is then turned over and he humps her 5 times in the ass (we see 3 + 1, then + 2, + 3, + 4, + 5, so a graphic remains on the screen 3 + 5). They both put their clothes back on. He struggles to get his moped to work again; she makes one quick adjustment and it starts up right away. She has to waddle home, explaining she never forgot those two humiliating numbers 3+5.

    In present day, the man points out that those are Fibonacci numbers. She says it hurt so bad, she swore shed never sleep with anyone again but that didn't last long. A couple of years later, the teenaged girl, who now calls herself Joe (Stacy Martin), is with her friend B (Sophie Kennedy Clark) and they break open B's brothers piggy bank and put on clothes called "fuck me now" clothes. This is interspersed with shots of the fly (bait). They go on a train trip without buying tickets; the one who fucks the most men by the time they reach the destination will win a bag of chocolate sweets.

    The two walk past all the compartments, eyeing all the men. In present day, the man says they were reading the river. Most of the large fish stay sheltered from the current to save energy and to hide from the prey. Where the fish hides entails a very complicated hierarchy. The topography decides where the most attractive hiding spots are and the biggest fish choose the best positions.

    B tells Joe to ask a lot of Wh-- questions to engage the men in conversation. Joe goes into the first compartment. A family with a man, woman, and boy are on one side; a man beside her. She asks her first Wh-questions; "What time is it?" The father tells her. B walks by with her first conquest. Joe continues, "Where do you come from?" The son responds, "From home". "Who knows where the lavatory is?" The father points out that there are lavatories in both directions. The man besides Joe tells her hell show her where the lavatory is. A shot of a fly-fisherman reeling in a fish. The man and her have sex in the bathroom.

    Joe explains that it was shockingly easy. Eventually, B is ahead, 5 to 3. All they had to do was look them in the eye and smile. But suddenly, the conquests stopped. The man explains that it happens in fishing, too either none of the fish are feeding or they're all feeding at the same time. They go into feeding frenzy. Fish most rarely bite at the beginning of a light rain because they feel safe when they swim in the stream because they cant be seen from above.

    Joe explains then it started again a bit more slowly. The man says, yes, fly-fishing can be done in several stages. And if the fish stop biting, you move on to phase two. You not only imitate an insect but an insect in trouble; you pull the line irregularly so the fish thinks its dealing with an easy prey. And then let the fly drift down the river and then halfheartedly make a few jumps.

    Joe goes into a compartment. She pretends to be upset; she explains that Betsy is very ill. The two men ask who Betsy is and she says her dwarf hamster. In real time, Joe explains that she did have a dwarf hamster as a child but never liked it. One man is more sympathetic than the other. He takes her hand. She asks him to show him the lavatory. The man has sex with her while she looks on, uninterested.

    B and Joe were running out of subjects and B is ahead on points. They go to a first class compartment. A train conductor asks for tickets. Joe checks her purse and tells him she thinks she lost hers. B says she hasn't bought a ticket for "the shitty train" and its "too slow". He gives them a ticket that would require £8 (pounds) but B tears it up, along with a second one he issues. The man in the compartment with them pays for their tickets. The conductor leaves. B says they'd like to be nice to him the way he has to them but he refuses her sexual advances.

    The scoreboard now reads 10 for B and 6 for Joe. B says shell give Joe five extra points if she can get the first class passenger in the lavatory. The fisherman compares this to resorting to using a red wobbler when a fly has failed to work.

    Joe asks the man why he brought a gift; he says it's for his wife. She points out he travels first class but has bought the gift from the station. He explains that they have been trying to have a child and it has to happen now or never. His wife just started ovulating and all signs point to maximum fertility being tonight. So he is rushing home in attempt to get her pregnant. Now Joe realizes why he didn't have sex with B and her. However, she still approaches him and tries to seduce him. He begs her to stop but she doesn't; she performs fellatio on him without permission and he orgasms in her mouth. She feels no remorse for forcing him to orgasm and at the train stop later, she happily eats from the bag of chocolates.

    The fisherman is impressed that oral sex because her angler. She asks why he isn't disgusted by her reprehensible actions. He says the only thing she's done is give people an experience to remember and releasing the married man from his load; if you keep the load too long, the sperm will die or degenerate. Maybe thanks to her, the man now has a child. She tells him she discovered her power as a woman and used it without any concern for others. He tells her, "if we have wings, not why fly?"

    The man leaves the room for more tea. When he comes back, she is asleep. She wakes up. They introduce each other her name is Joe and his name is Seligman, a name she calls "fucking ridiculous". He tells her its Jewish and it means the happy one. She asks if he's happy. He says he supposes he is, even though hes a person who cuts the nails of the right hand first. He divides humanity into two groups people who cut the nails of the left hand first are more lighthearted and have a tendency to enjoy life more because they go for the easiest task and save the difficulties for later. She says she always cuts the nails on the left hand first and doesn't think there's a choice; go for the pleasure first and then after the left hand is done, the right hand becomes the easiest one left (as compared to something a chore, like he considered it). He says he had never thought of it that way.

    She notices rugelach (a Jewish cake) on a plate he brought for her and is intrigued by the fact that he is serving it with a cake fork. Joe says pastries shouldn't be eaten with a cake fork since its un-manly and feminine. She explains that she also knew someone who ate rugelach daily with a cake fork and she needs to tell him about Jerôme.

    CHAPTER TWO: JERÔME

    An older Joe is seen in a montage, having sex with several different men. One by one, she tells each of them that they had given her her first orgasm. She explains in voice-over that B and her had started a club called The Little Flock. A group of girls gather together and recite "Mea vulva, mea maxima vulva" while someone else plays an organ. In present day, Seligman tells her the music is almost Satanic, using a triton, the Devils Interval, which was banned from music in the Middle Ages. Joe says the Vacuum Cleaner invented it on the piano, explaining she got the nickname because she had a sort of vacuum cleaner in her cunt that could get an erection from flaccid penises. She says the club was about fucking and the right to be horny but was also rebellious; they weren't allowed to have boyfriends and couldn't have sex with the same guy more than once. They were fixated on combating the love-fixated society.

    A girl smashes a window with a display of hearts in the window. During a club meeting, B admits to having sex with the same guy three times and is reprimanded by Joe. B tries to justify her relationship but Joe chastises her for using the word relationship. B tells Joe she doesn't know everything about sex and whispers that the secret ingredient to sex is love. Joe is seen storming out.

    In present day, Joe says "For me, love was just lust with jealousy added". She continues, For every 100 crimes committed in the name of love, only one is committed in the name of sex. Joe explains she then desired a serious education. Seligman chuckles he envisions Joe's form of education involving masturbating with a pointing stick at the front of a classroom, wearing pigtails and glasses, using the stick to point out Glasgow on a map and then continue to masturbate with it.

    Joe tried to study medicine like her father but it was hard for her to concentrate so she dropped out of medical school. She applies for a job as an assistant at a printing house but has not acquired any appropriate skills. The woman interviewing her is unimpressed when Joe admits she didn't think skills would be necessary for secretarial work. The woman says she will discuss the possibility of her being hired with her boss, Jerôme, but doubts she has any chance. When she comes back, she lets her know Jerôme has agreed to hire her.

    She starts work the next day. Jerôme is revealed to be an adult Shia LeBeouf (who she lost her virginity to). It takes her a second to remember him. He brags about his position in the office (author's note: in a horrible British accent, yikes) and asks if she's thought of him since they were together; she obviously hasn't. He explains that his uncle usually works in the private office they're in but he's been horribly sick so he is taking his place in the meantime. Jerôme takes Joe on a tour, first introducing her officially to the woman who she interviewed with, Liz.

    They ride in an old elevator lift. When Joe's back is turned, Jerôme stops the elevator. He tries to get promiscuous with her but she pushes him away. She says he's not her type so he finally goes back to the control panel and turns the elevator back on; but it doesn't move. They both have to escape by jumping through a panel near the top.

    In present day, Seligman asks why she didn't have sex with him and she says she doesn't know. He supposes she got fired but she says no, if he had fired her, he would have lost. Since she didn't have any specific work duties, Joe spends her time at work cleaning up Jerôme's office. When he gets in, he is upset with her. He has her go back outside with the breakfast she has made. She knocks on the door and after a short while, he allows her to come in with the breakfast. He asks her why there is no cake fork for his rugelach; she tells him she had felt it was inappropriate.

    In present day, Seligman admits this is feminine but argues that a cake fork is a practical tool, somewhere between a knife and a fork so you can hold the cake in one hand and cut it with the other. He says that the Bolsheviks in Russia, to separate the men from the boys, sent a boy inside a house before they burned it down, to make sure it had cake forks and the arson was justifiable. Joe points out this isn't true and Seligman laughs.

    Joe begins seducing several men in the office; she tells one man he needs to wash his hands (to lead him to the bathroom). Another, she flirts with. Shes then seen leaving the bathroom with a third man.

    Jerôme considers this a game of war. Sometimes, he takes Joe into town just so she can hold his coat. They argue over a parking spot she sees because he claims there isn't enough space between cars to parallel park. He makes an attempt to prove himself right, stopping midway due to lack of space. She talks him into letting them switch seats; she then parallel parks with ease in her first try.

    At night, Joe is alone in the office, in Jerôme's space. She then began to feel a change inside her, desiring to be one of Jerôme's things, picked up and put down again and again. She scalds herself for seeing him in this new light. Seligman responds, "Love is blind", but she corrects him: "Love distorts things. Or even worse, love is something you'd never ask for." The erotic is something she asked for, or even demanded from men, but idiotic love and all the dishonest that follows humiliated her. Erotic is about saying yes; love appeals to the lowest instincts wrapped up in lies. How do you say yes when you mean no, and vice versa. Seligman points out she is defending her personality instead of simply revealing it.

    In flashback, Joe takes up walking, the same path she used to walk on with her father. She passes the ash tree, a lady with a poodle, an old man on a bench, and ends up on a little bridge overlooking a pond. She cant free herself from her thoughts of Jerôme and during this time, she wont let the other men shes having sex with touch her body with their hands and eventually stops having sex. She finds out where Jerôme lives but never rings the doorbell. She writes a letter expressing her feelings but it takes a month to get the courage to deliver it; on that date, she finds Jerôme's uncle back at his desk. He asks her for the letter and says he will get it to Jerôme; he complains about how Jerôme is traveling, having just married Liz, the woman that hired Joe.

    In present day, Joe explains she was promptly fired from her job since she had no experience. Even though he'd disappeared, she tries to keep Jerôme in her thoughts when she masturbates on a train. She finds details in other passengers that reminds them of Jerôme the shoes of one, the hair of another, the hands of another. Then she pieces them together (shown as a puzzle piece) but admits that in the long run, she couldn't hold on to the details of them. Seligman points out that memory is ultimately remembering silhouettes and essentials which Joe doesn't consider a bad thing.

    A 10-year-old Joe is in the woods with her father, this time in winter, where the crookedness of the trees and branches stand out. He explains that the branches are crooked from having to carry all the leaves into the sunlight, one long struggle for survival. He calls the naked trunks the souls of the trees, a poetic thought that is rare for him since he prefers empirical sciences.

    Now that Jerôme is gone, Joe intensifies her hunt for men. She compares her cunt to a supermarket door that opens/closes on its own with an overtly sensitive sensor. She experiences many different cocks shown in a photo-montage, grouping them accordingly, including big black cocks and circumcised cocks. She tells Seligman that if they combined all the foreskin cut off over time, it would reach to Mars and back again.

    Joe sees a painting that reads Mrs. H (the other half of her name is concealed in darkness). This leads to

    CHAPTER THREE: MRS. H

    Now, in flashback, Joe has reached a sizable number of lovers and has trouble remembering who is who. She listens to her answering machine and takes notes; since it has become impossible to keep track of the individual relationships and how to converse with them, she invents a method to decide randomly. Using the list of callers, she rolls a dice and if it lands on one, she will be overly loving when she calls them back; if it lands on two, not quite as passionate, and so on to five, which is a complete rejection and six, which is to just ignore the call. She then calls everyone on the pad back and leaves messages rejecting them, being loving, etc. She realizes that this makes her completely unpredictable which drives the men wild. To balance this stress, she looks through the herbarium she's created (a book of plant pressings).

    Because she's dealing with a large amount of men, there are pieces in their personalities which are hard to circumvent. She asks one, she has labeled H, to leave before her next guest (another lover) will arrive. He refuses to leave so she tells him that he has to get out because she knows he will never leave his family for her sake. She adds that its not satisfying to her that she cant have him completely and so they cant see each other any longer. She pushes him out, obviously not attached to him, and then prepares for her next lover to arrive. Midway through her preparations, there is a knock on the door. H is back; he's left his wife and kids (three young boys) and has come back with a suitcase. In the hall, Joe hears H's wife and kids spying on her. The wife (Uma Thurman) apologizes for intruding and says she just wanted to make sure he got there safe now that he's made the big decision. She asks if the children can go inside.

    Mrs. H and the kids go into Joe's apartment; the woman is complimentary of the place. She tries to give H his car keys but he is adamant he doesn't want to keep the car. She demands it and then says shell take the bus home as will her children, who will get used to public transport. Joe notices one of the boys is holding a pillow; Mrs. H explains that he embroidered it himself and it is a present for his dad. Mrs. H asks if it's okay if they call H "Daddy" here or maybe him or the man. She originally didn't want H to see the children anymore but figured its right for her (former) husband to be confronted with the little people whose lives hes destroyed. Mrs. H continues on, passive-aggressively. She asks if the children can see the whoring bed. She takes the kids to see Daddy's favorite place and leads them into the bedroom where they all stare at Joe's bed. She tells the kids they should memorize the bed so they can recall it years later, in therapy. She then says shes being silly and suggests they all have a cup of tea. She tells Joe that the children's father likes two lumps of sugar in his tea.

    Joe's next lover arrives. Mrs. H takes the flowers he is holding and then introduces all of her kids to the new suitor. Mrs. H admires the ménage à trois (assuming the new lover already knows Mr. H) and admits to failing to be as broad-minded. She tells her kids that they should ask all the questions their hearts desire and hopes that they never find themselves in such a situation again. None of the kids have anything to say. Mrs. H starts instead, asking how many lives Joe is able to destroy in one day five, 50, or several hundreds. Joe explains this is a big misunderstanding; she tells the kids she doesn't love their father. Mrs. H says shes just saying that to make them feel better because if this was a joke, it would be a joke so cruel and nobody can be that cruel to destroy a mesh of feelings woven over 20 years. She then tells the kids they should get away before things get too grotesque. One of her kids runs back to hug his dad and she pulls him away, saying she wouldn't want to give his father a guilty conscience. Mrs. H then begins screaming, goes back and slaps her husband, and then exits the building, screaming as she goes.

    Seligman asks how this episode affected Joe's life and she says, not at all and you cant make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. He tells her some people blame the addict and others feel sorry for the addict; she explains that she was an addict out of lust and not out of need. For her, nymphomaniac was callousness. He asks how she felt during all this; she explains that sex was her constant companion yet she still felt alone.

    Flashback to Joe at age seven, having to have an operation with anesthesia. She is in the hospital hallway while the doctors prepare for the operation, and when she looks into the room, she feels as if she had to pass through an impenetrable gate all by herself. It wasn't because she missed her mom or dad but was as if she was completely alone in the universe; as if her whole body was filled with loneliness and tears.

    Seligman asks if hes not allowed to feel sorry for her. She responds by saying, Shall we go on? She sees he is reading a book which he explains is from the works of Edgar Allan Poe. He tells her he died in the worst imaginable way, in something called delirium tremors, which occurs when a long term use of alcohol is followed by a sudden abstinence, forcing your body into hypersensitive shock. This leads to horrifying hallucinations of rats and snakes and cockroaches coming out of the floor and worms slithering in the walls. The entire nervous system is on high alert and you have a constant panic and paranoia and then the circulatory system fails; but the panic and horror remains until the moment of death. Joe admits she knows what delirium is.

    CHAPTER FOUR: DELIRIUM

    In flashback, an adult Joe walks alone in the courtyard of a hospital (filmed in black and white). She enters the hospital room of her sleeping father (still played by Christian Slater). He wakes up and she tells him that her mother is not coming; he defends her, saying she fears hospitals. Joe calls her a "cowardly, stupid bitch" but her father continues to defend her.

    Joe asks him if he's afraid but he says no; as a doctor, hes seen many die and does not fear death. He recites a quote about death, When we are, death does not come; when death has come, we are not. He explains we know its going to happen and thus is not afraid.

    At night, Joe's dad awakes from sleep, screaming out loud. He begins to sob. She tries to comfort him but he is having hallucinations and doesn't respond. A nurse comes in later and tells Joe she will stay with her father if Joe wants to go on a walk. Joe does, walking in the same courtyard at the beginning of the sequence. She looks up at the trees. Joe returns to the room with leaves from the ash tree. She pretends to not remember the story of the ash tree in winter and so he tells her the story again. He then begins having another attack of delirium. The doctors struggle to subside him and force him into a straightjacket while Joe backs away, crying. She is led out of the room by a doctor.

    A sullen Joe wanders the hospital. She finds an orderly working downstairs. Cut to her having sex with him, desperately trying to fill a void.

    Later, she is asleep on a chair in her dad's room. She wakes up and sees feces running down the side of his hospital bed. She tells someone outside and two nurses and a janitor begin to clean up. Joe's father has soiled himself while in the straightjacket; as they clean up, they make sure he is still tied down. He stares up at Joe with a wild look in his eyes, as if he is completely gone. She watches the nurse wipe her helpless dad.

    Cut to Joe having sex with someone else in the hospital. It fails to comfort her and she ends up sobbing afterwards, eventually falling asleep.

    Joe's father is now deceased, with a rose placed on his chest. Joe says after his death, she had no feelings left and felt shameful. Her mother is in the room, too, but she quickly leaves; Joe is left alone with her father. She goes on to explain that the shame she felt was, in seeing her dead father, she lubricated.

    Seligman tells Joe that he knows she wants to present herself in a certain way and has a dark bias that shes worse than anyone else but this story doesn't add to the belief. He tells her its extremely common to react sexually in a crisis; it may be shameful to her but in literature, there are many worse examples. She seems appreciative of him saying this but doesn't respond verbally.

    He cleans her plate and when he returns, she acknowledges his cassette player. She asks him to play what is in the machine. He tells her its Bach from his organ book. He was the master of polyphony, a European phenomenon from the Middle Ages that distinguishes that every voice is its own melody but together, in harmony. (In other words, two or more independent melodies are sung/played simultaneously, as opposed to a monophony, which is just one voice). Bach wrote many words for several choirs at the same time, wallowing in polyphony. This affects the melodic expression and the harmony, also mixed up with some rather incomprehensible mystique regarding numbers, most likely based on the Fibonacci sequence it starts with 0, 1 then adds the two numbers together so its 0+1 = 1, 1+1 = 2, 2+1 = 3, 2+ 3 = 5, etc. It is all about finding out a divine methodology in art and architecture, a bit like the way triton (played on the organ in B and Joe's club) is supposed to be a Satanic interval. The sum of the number values for Bach's name (B=2, A=1, C=3, H=8) equals 14, a number Bach used a lot of in his compositions. All the numbers are also Fibonecci numbers. The piece Seligman played has three voices Bach's voice, played with the pedal on the organ, a second voice played with the left hand, and a third voice played with the right hand a cantus firmus. Together, these three voices create the polyphony.

    Joe explains that normally nymphomaniacs are seen as people who cant get enough and therefore have sex with many different people; but if shes being honest, she sees it precisely as the sum of different sexual experiences. So in that way, she has only one lover.

    CHAPTER FIVE: THE LITTLE ORGAN SCHOOL

    Since the music has three voices, Joe limits herself to talking about three lovers. The bass is easy, a man she codifies as F. He has a used red car. As shes having sex with seven or eight men at this time, scheduling was tricky and they all had to have precise appointments. F always got there an hour early, with flowers, and waited patiently in his car for an hour. If she was having sex against the window and sees him, it always made her smile. Sometimes, she would let him come in and drink coffee while she finished with her previous lover. She appreciated that not only did he know what she wanted during sex, there was kind of a telepathy going on between them without saying anything, he knew what she wanted and where she wanted to be touched. His most sacred goal was her orgasm and she gave him privileges none of the others received; such as allowing him to give her a sponge bath. F was the bass voice monotone, predictable, and ritualistic but also the foundation that is so important, even if on its own, it doesn't mean much.

    We see 1/3 of the screen (the far left) as a shot of the red car and F's sexual encounters with Joe intercut with Seligman's foot on the organ pedal and the organ pipes, demonstrating that he is the first voice.

    A knock on the door. We now meet G, the only one of her lovers she had to and wanted to wait for. When he finally shows up, he doesn't immediately enter, the way a cat doesn't when you let it in as if once the door is open, it has all the time in the world. But she considers him more of a jaguar or a leopard, pointing out that he moved the same way as one (we see a naked G walking intercut with a leopard walking). They have sex; he is aggressive and in charge. On 1/3 of the screen (the far right), we see a jaguar devouring its prey, then intercut with a naked G walking, then Seligman's left hand playing the organ. The far left 1/3 of the screen then shows the F montage again; meanwhile, we hear both musical notes simultaneously. There is a black 1/3 between the two, demonstrating that there is a missing third piece of the polyphony.

    Joe explains that despite her success in managing the complicated logistics of arranging up to ten daily sexual satisfactions while also having a full-time job, Joe was still praying to a certain sadness so she would try to squeeze in walks when she could. We see her go on the same walk wed seen earlier past the ash tree, a woman with a poodle, a man on a bench. This is repeated again and again, at different speeds. She correlates this with the movements of a caged animal, as we see a lion pacing in a small cage; basically, we are all waiting for permission to die.

    During her latest walk, Joe finds fragments scattered around on the path. She begins to pick them up and discovers they are torn up photographs. When she pieces them together, its revealed to be shots of Jerôme.

    Suddenly, a hand reaches out to grab hers. On top of the bridge overlooking the pond is Jerôme. In present day, Seligman says there are completely unrealistic coincidences in her story; first that he hires her as a secretary by chance and then she takes a walk in a forest that is littered with photos of him and that hes present and pulls her up to her feet.

    She explains that Jerôme was there because he'd just had a fight with his wife, who was angry and tore up the photographs from their travels. Joe tells Seligman he'll get more out of the story by believing it than by not believing it; he admits this is true. Cut back to B whispering to Joe that the secret ingredient to sex is love.

    In present day, Joe admits that this ended up being the third voice of the secret ingredient. Seligman agrees that she has created a cantus firmus.

    Jerôme and Joe have sex...... graphically, in a several minute long sequence.

    She tells him (voiced in present day but synched in flashback), "Fill all my holes."

    We now hear the melody again, with all three parts a three-way split screen showing lovers F, Jerôme, and G, along with shots of the musical equivalents on the organ (foot, left hand, right hand). The montage ends with shots of them all having sex with Joe before cutting to Seligman's tape player cutting off and the music stopping.

    Back to the sex scene with Jerôme and Joe. She zones out and he asks her what's wrong. She explains that she can't feel anything. She repeats: "I can't feel anything" over and over, eventually breaking down crying as the film cuts to black.

    To be continued..........

    Scenes from upcoming Nymphomaniac: Vol. II are shown during the end credits.

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