Charlotte-Gainsbourg-in-NymphomaniacFollowing 2011’s masterpiece, Melancholia, Lars von Trier returns to the big screen with what could perhaps become his most controversial film yet, Nymphomaniac.

The film sees him reuniting with Charlotte Gainsbourg (Melancholia, Antichrist), who takes the leading role as the eponymous, self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, Joe. And now Artificial Eye have released the first image from the film, giving us a look at Gainsbourg.

“The film is a wild and poetic story of a woman’s erotic journey from birth to the age of 50 as told by the main character, the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, Joe (Gainsbourg). On a cold winter’s evening the old, charming bachelor, Seligman (Skarsgård), finds Joe beaten up in an alley. He brings her home to his flat where he cares for her wounds while asking her about her life. He listens intently as Joe over the next 8 chapters recounts the lushly branched-out and multi-faceted story of her life, rich in associations and interjecting incidents.”

Starring alongside Gainsbourg is a fantastic cast, headed up by Stellan Skarsgård, Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell, Stacy Martin, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Connie Nielsen, Udo Kier, and Jean-Marc Barr.

Von Trier is once more directing from his own script.

From what we can see in the image below, it looks like Gainsbourg has just been beaten up in the alley mentioned in the synopsis above, and Skarsgård is moments away from finding her.

No word yet on when we can expect Nymphomaniac to be released, but the film is set for release in von Trier’s native Denmark at the end of May this year, so hopefully we’ll have a UK and US release date announced for a similar time soon.

Given the events at Cannes 2011, a debut at the festival in France is perhaps unlikely, though the European release dates might suggest otherwise. For now, here’s the first official image, which you can click through to enlarge.