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Nicolas Winding Refn interview: The Neon Demon, creativity in a digital age

Ryan Lambie Nov 1, 2016

Maverick director Nicolas Winding Refn talks to us about The Neon Demon, out this month on disc, and creativity in the digital age...

The breakthrough hit Drive aside, Nicolas Winding Refn's films seldom play nicely with their audience. Only God Forgives, the Danish director's follow-up to Drive and also starring Ryan Gosling, was a garish revenge fantasy set in Thailand but seemingly shot in the depths of hell; released in 2013, it received an openly hostile reception at Cannes.

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Likewise The Neon Demon, another fantastical horror-thriller which depicts Hollywood as a kind of colour-saturated purgatory. Young waif Jessie (Elle Fanning) shows up here with ambitions of becoming a top model; she achieves her ambition, but
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Parenting in the Film Industry: Raising Films' Survey Yields Sadly Unsurprising Results

Two years ago, I interviewed director Liv Corfixen on her film My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, about her husband and the making of Only God Forgives. Refn was there as well, and one of the points that had come up in the film, and that both Corfixen and Refn elaborated on, was the difficulty of balancing work and family life. Refn liked to have his family with him when he was in production, but was saddened by how little time he had with them, and that the expectation of care always fell to his wife, with little regard for his own desire to look after his children. Raising Films, a UK-based advocacy group, has recently completed a study on the state of family...

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Nicolas Winding Refn on the Female Vision of ‘The Neon Demon’ and Merging with Elle Fanning

The Neon Demon will eventually elicit some strong reaction from every viewer, and Nicolas Winding Refn has made clear that it shouldn’t be any other way. Our review was among the most negative we posted at Cannes, speaking for both its immediate grade and the force of its criticisms, and our own Brian Roan experienced something that, had it gone just a bit further, would be plastered across every one of the film’s TV spots and Blu-ray cases. Winding Refn seemed rather amused when I showed him the tweet on my phone, though his verbal response was terse: “I have two kids, so I know what it’s like.”

Despite the stated desire to provoke, there’s a clear humility when discussing The Neon Demon‘s development, and this writer-director — one who’s often held as a symbol of masculine-artist impulses run rampant — often admits that his film
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[Cannes Review] The Neon Demon

The problem in trying to critically assess Nicolas Winding Refn’s putrid atrocity of a film The Neon Demon is that regardless how much outrage is thrown at it, Winding Refn invariably wins, since that’s exactly what he’s after. The director has set out to make the most repellently misogynistic film imaginable, yet he’s disguised it as a postmodern feminist satire. By shattering every possible taboo, the film is supposed to be an attack against the very thing it represents. Really, though, any semblance of commentary is simply a posture for Winding Refn to cover his ass. This isn’t a case of épater les bourgeois, nor is The Neon Demon qualitatively comparable to the works of Paul Verhoeven or Harmony Korine – it’s much, much too stupid for that.

Set in Los Angeles, that signifier city for all things superficial, The Neon Demon aspires to be
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'Drive' Director to Remake Classic Horror Movie 'Witchfinder General'

If you saw the documentary My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, then you witnessed Refn's anxiety and anguish as his movie Only God Forgives debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. The documentary by his wife Liv Corfixen tracked the movie's production and release, including its muted reception at Cannes, yet it also showed how quickly he bounced back the next morning, ready to move on to his next project. That project proved to be The Neon Demon, set to premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival on Friday. The horror thriller follows an aspiring model (Elle Fanning) who moves to Los Angeles and encounters a group of voracious women. The ladies are obsessed with beauty and very much desire the aspiring model's youth and vitality. Here's the latest...

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Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2016: #16. Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon

The Neon Demon

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writers: Mary Laws, Nicolas Winding Refn

Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn, who has since attained cult status thanks to the success of 2011’s Drive (which snagged a Best Director award at Cannes), struck divisive chords with his 2013 follow-up Only God Forgives, which was booed at Cannes and resulted in a documentary about the experience the following year from Refn’s wife, Liv Corfixen (My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn). In a response to critiques of misogyny in his narratives, Refn returns with the Los Angeles set The Neon Demon, a femme centric horror film written by Mary Laws and co-financed by Wild Bunch and Gaumont (explaining its eligibility for our foreign films list). Starring a notable cast consisting of Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Keanu Reeves and Refn favorite Christina Hendricks, the director describes it as a ‘horror film about vicious beauty,’ concerning
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Robin Williams Starrer ‘Boulevard’ To Open Italy’s Ischia Global Fest

Robin Williams Starrer ‘Boulevard’ To Open Italy’s Ischia Global Fest
Rome — U.S. indie director Dito Montiel’s “Boulevard,” which marks Robin Williams’ final onscreen role, will open Italy’s upcoming Ischia Global Film and Music Fest on July 12.

Screening of “Boulevard,” in which Williams plays a middle-aged married man who encounters a gay hustler on a Nashville street and faces his homosexuality late in life, bowed at Tribeca in 2014.

Pic is getting a theatrical release in the U.S. via Starz digital starting on July 10.

“We are proud to inaugurate the festival with a long-awaited work in which, according to U.S. critics, Williams delivers one of his best performances,” enthused Ischia topper Pascal Vicedomini in a statement.

Other U.S. pics set for Ischia launches include Doug Ellin’s “Entourage,” based on the HBO series; Paul Feig’s comedy “Spy”; James Kent’s First World War drama “Testament of Youth”, and Rob Cohen’s thriller “The Boy Next Door,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Ryan Gosling, Nicolas Winding Refn documentary: 9 things we learned

Ryan Gosling, Nicolas Winding Refn documentary: 9 things we learned
"You know you have made great cinema when

half love it and half hate it."

Only God Forgives fittingly split opinion quite violently upon its release in 2013, but its production process was similarly turbulent during six months on location in Bangkok. Absorbing new documentary My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, filmed by the director's wife Liv Corfixen, captures both the logistical turmoil and artistic ingenuity behind the scenes by offering intimate access to the personal environment and headspace of the Danish auteur along with the movie's star Ryan Gosling.

Here are some of the things we learnt...

1. Directors should avoid Tarot card readings from fellow directors

Nicolas Winding Refn receives a tarot card reading from his idol and legendary Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, who issues a warning about the dangers of success. With the Danish director buoyed by the commercial performance of Drive, Jodorowsky advises that "this can change
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New details on Nicolas Winding Refn's cannibal horror movie The Neon Demon

  • JoBlo
New details have emerged about the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed horror flick The Neon Demon, courtesy of Dazed & Confused and What Culture. We'll start with D&C, who last month spoke with Liv Corfixen, Refn's wife and My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn director. She says The Neon Demon is inspired by the tale of Countess Bathory, a 16th century serial killer who (as the story goes) would wash herself with the blood of virgins to maintain her youth....
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Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon Will Feature Cannibalistic Supermodels

Given his track record, Nicolas Winding Refn honestly has my money as soon as he announces a new project. With gripping character study Bronson, stylish modern classic Drive (possibly my favorite movie of all-time) and the hypnotic Only God Forgives under his belt, the filmmaker is one of the most unique voices working in cinema today. And judging by new tidbits about his upcoming horror movie The Neon Demon, that’s not about to change anytime soon.

While being interviewed by Dazed and Confused last month about her documentary My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn, the filmmaker’s wife, Liv Corfixen, let slip some fascinating details about The Neon Demon‘s inspirations – including that the film is inspired by Countess Elizabeth Báthory, a notoriously cruel 16th-century countess who was rumored to bathe in the blood of local virgins. Báthory tortured these young girls and murdered them in hopes of
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Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Neon Demon' is Inspired by Countess Bathory

The only official information we have on Nicolas Winding Refn's next film, The Neon Demon, is that it's a horror tale with a young female driven cast, written by Refn and Mary Laws. That's not much to go on, but now Dazed Digital and What Culture (via The Playlist) reveal some new information after speaking with Refn's wife and director of My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn, Liv Corfixen. First we learn the story was inspired by the tale of Countess Bathory, who inspired many a vampire myth with sadistic rituals that included bathing in the blood of virgins. The Los Angeles-set movie is said to be a bit like the survival thriller Alive (1993) meets Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999). Corfixen isn't entirely sure what it's about, at least thematically, adding, "I don't know yet. Maybe it's about spirituality but I'm not sure," while revealing he's been purchasing Christian movies of late.
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Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Neon Demon' Inspired By Countess Báthory, Reportedly Set In The World Of Supermodels

Filming starts this month on Nicolas Winding Refn's "The Neon Demon," with Elle Fanning,  Christina Hendricks, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Keanu Reeves and Abbey Lee starring in the film. But there hasn't been much in the way of plot details. We do know that the script was co-written by Mary Laws, and that the film is set in Los Angeles, but outside of that things get fuzzy. However, things are becoming slightly more focused. Last month, Dazed And Confused caught up with Liv Corfixen, Refn's wife and the director of "My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn," who revealed that the film is inspired by the tale of Countess Báthory, the serial killing sixteenth century countess who apparently bathed in the blood of virgins to stay young (the last detail is apocryphal, but makes for a good yarn). Moreover, the movie will apparently be like a mix of the
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Beyond Fright: Exclusive Interview With Filmmakers Nicolas Winding Refn & Liv Corfixen!

Most cinephiles are already well versed in the career of the artistically wonderful Nicolas Winding Refn. From the early days of his Pusher trilogy to the Tom Hardy-led Bronson, to the critically and financially successful Drive, Nwr has done an excellent job creating a worldwide recognition for himself and with good reason. He’s a rare voice in today’s world of film, and his follow up to Drive, Only God Forgives is a poetic and violent film filled with visually striking elements. Liv Corfixen, Refn’s wife, documented the ins and out of dealing and living with Nwr during the time period in which Only God Forgives was filmed, and the result is My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn (review). It’s a very interesting and thoroughly entertaining documentary that doesn’t hide the fact that sometimes making films is hard and living with someone who is
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Listen: 82-Minute Talk With Nicolas Winding Refn And Liv Corfixen About Making 'Only God Forgives' And More

Love it or loathe it, Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives" was a distinctive and completely polarizing piece of work. As the filmmaker himself admits, it found him consciously destroying everything that made "Drive" a success. He wanted to ensure he didn't get stuck repeating himself. But it resulted in an anxiety filled shoot for the director, captured on camera by his wife Liv Corfixen, who turned it into the documentary "My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn." It's an up close look at Refn's process on the movie from the kind of perspective you don't often get. And over the weekend, the pair hit New York City to talk about the film. The Close-Up podcast captured that conversation, and as always, Refn makes an enjoyable raconteur. He reveals that he's a "big admirer of reality television," which made it easy for him to be filmed by Corfixen, and
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Nicolas Winding Refn and Liv Corfixen Discuss the Documentary 'My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn'

I quite enjoyed My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn, the behind-the-scenes look at the making of Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives, shot by his wife Liv Corfixen. Here's a snippet from my review: Corfixen's intimate documentary presents the story with such compassion and caring for its subject and yet you can see where she struggles to be the one Refn can count on for strength and reassurance as she too is also searching for an identity and purpose. Not to mention taking care of the couple's two young children all day long. The film is playing in limited theaters right now and On Demand, and recently the couple sat down for an interview at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York (via The Playlist) and the interview actually lasts 24 minutes longer than the brief, 58-minute movie itself. Now I haven't had a chance to listen to this whole thing,
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Beyond Fright Review: My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn

Danish born filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn is one of the most exciting and diverse directors working in and outside the film industry today. A cinephile who states that Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the film that cemented his desire to one day make a picture himself, Refn’s films exude such cinematic passion with a stark, specific vision, and as much style as there is substance in every film he’s created. If you’ve ever wondered on the thought process of such an auteur, then step right up, because My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn delivers that in harsh spades.

My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn (referred here on out as Mldbnwr) chronicles the making of Only God Forgives, Refn’s stylish, Alejandro Jodorowsky dedicated, neon-drenched deconstruction of a leading Hollywood star. Shot and directed by his fellow filmmaker wife Liv Corfixen, we’re
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Two New Documentaries Take Very Different Looks at the Human Heart

Two new documentaries opened this weekend on VOD and in limited theatrical release, but aside from being non-fiction they share absolutely nothing in common. Well, nothing obvious anyway, but through sheer will power and the finessing of a few adjectives I feel confident saying that these two wildly different films are both focused on exploring the human heart. The Widowmaker is obvious as it’s quite literally a look at a specific type of heart attack that has killed millions of people even though it’s quite possibly a preventable incident. The doc explores a quick and inexpensive test called a Coronary Calcium Scan and its two decade-long fight to be recognized as a crucial tool in the fight against heart disease. My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn is a bit looser fit as it eschews the literal heart in favor of the metaphorical one we attribute with controlling our loves and passions. The
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Nicolas Winding Refn Talks 'My Life' Doc, What's Next, Dropping Studio Gigs & The Reaction To 'Only God Forgives'

This is a reprint of our interview from the 2014 Fantastic Fest. When it comes to documentaries that chart the making of a particular film, some of the very best have come from those closest to the filmmakers. The most towering achievement in this regard is probably "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse," an intense making-of documentary that follows Francis Ford Coppola and the bonkers production of "Apocalypse Now," which was co-authored by Coppola's wife, Eleanor. Following in Eleanor's footsteps is Liv Corfixen, the wife of "Drive" filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, who took to cataloguing the production of Refn's polarizing, Bangkok-set thriller "Only God Forgives," with "My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn." We had the chance to sit down with Refn and Corfixen at the recent Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. The documentary is an intimate portrait of frustration and familial unrest (since they had to move the family...
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My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn DVD review

Filmmaker Liv Corfixen brings us a documentary about her director husband. Here's Ryan's review of My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn.

When Only God Forgives made its debut at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, it’s fair to say the reaction was somewhat mixed. Some hooted and derided the film. A few got up and left. Many, on the other hand, championed director Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow up to his critically-acclaimed Drive, also starring Ryan Gosling.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, for example, prized the film, and for this writer, it was a disturbing counterpoint to the more commercial Drive - if that film was a sun-drenched dream in which Ryan Gosling played an archetypal male hero, then Only God Forgives is the nightmare: a view of machismo gone horribly awry.

If some critics were appalled by the film, Refn had misgivings of his own. The director’s self-doubt
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Get to Know the Real Nicolas Winding Refn, Warts and All, in His Wife's New Doc

Get to Know the Real Nicolas Winding Refn, Warts and All, in His Wife's New Doc
Liv Corfixen chronicles the making of her husband's critically skewered 2013 "Drive" followup "Only God Forgives," an under-appreciated film that I suspect and hope (perhaps in vain) will blossom over time. If you haven't seen "Only God Forgives," it's like if David Lynch took quaaludes and directed a spaghetti Western in Thailand. A sort of extended making-of doc, "My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn" is a fascinating portrait of the artist and his anxieties, closing in on Refn's masochistic need to deliver greatness by reproducing the international success of "Drive," his 2011 Cannes smash that won him Best Director and $75 million at the box office. "I've spent three years making this film and I don't know what it's about," Refn opines in one of the opening sections in which Corfixen gives us a glimpse at their shared world, with their two adorable blond children along for the ride in Bangkok, where "Only God.
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