Lars von Trier has never been lacking in ambition, but The Nymphomaniac could be something of a watershed moment for the controversial Danish auteur. Now, releasing two versions of a movie — one pornographic, the other “softcore” — would be enough to let this stand apart from most of his long career (the U.S. version of The Idiots being excepted), but this is on an entirely different level.

That’s because there’s, oh, twice as much as we had initially anticipated. When speaking with ScreenDaily (via BleedingCool), his frequent producer, Peter Aalbæk Jensen, revealed that, for his twelfth feature, von Trier will be stretching out The Nymphomaniac into two features, both of which he hopes to debut at Cannes in 2013.

Here’s what Jensen had to say:

“We are making two films. It is a big operation. I personally hope that we should be ready for Cannes next year. We will shoot both and edit both – and we want to finish both at the same time.”

Prior plot summaries have told us The Nymphomaniac would center on Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a 50-year-old woman discovered by an older man, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), to whom she tells her life story over the course of eight chapters, “rich in associations and interjecting incidents.” Jensen promises some of these segments “will be Dogme hand-held,” while others will have “very carefully made photography, crane shots and beautiful images.” Two kinds of von Trier employed across two different films.

And, what, just do a break at the end of chapter four? None of us can formulate a solid reason for why he’d even make this radical move — with a public silence now in full effect, we shouldn’t expect those to come from von Trier himself, either — but if that’s what he thinks is best, that’s what I’ll gladly accept. Let’s just hope both will be available at once.

Are you surprised to hear The Nymphomaniac will be hitting in such a fashion?

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