12 items from 2013
Marrakech, Morocco– While in Marakkech to give a masterclass and participate in a tribute to Scandinavian cinema, Danish helmer Nicolas Winding Refn sat with journos to discuss his projects and philosophy on filmmaking. The director, who showed up wearing black sunglasses, was in a chatty and playful mood, giving us a taste of his staple dark and provocative sense of humor. His last film, “Only God Forgives” premiered in competition at Cannes.
Refn: I guess it’s part coincidence and partly to do with the fact that I approach everything like a pin-up magazine. I make movies about what arouses me. I don’t have an interest in the result in the end, because I enjoy the process of creativity more than the actual, finished product. It usually starts with a basic idea. Ryan and I »
- Elsa Keslassy
Okay, kids, strap yourselves in because things are about to get a little bit crazy!The Twitch presented retrospective With Blood On His Hands: The Films Of Nicolas Winding Refn at the Tiff Bell Lightbox is now well and truly under way with both Pusher and Bleeder screening yesterday and the bulk of the remaining filmography screening either tonight or over the weekend. And, as always, we've got two pairs of tickets for every screening to give away and we've got to get our winners to the Tiff box office folk before business closes up at the end of the day. Which means over the course of today we have to give away two pairs of tickets for each of Fear X, Pusher II: With Blood...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Here's a bit of news I'm happy to see out in the wild ...Twitch is proud to present With Blood On His Hands, a complete retrospective of the films of Nicolas Winding Refn screening at the Tiff Bell Lightbox in Toronto from October 23rd - November 5th. Refn will be on hand for the opening weekend to present screenings of Pusher and Bleeder as well as presenting a special screening of Andy Milligan's Fleshpot on 42nd Street. Also presented will be seldom seen documentary Gambler, which chronicles the creation of Pusher 2 and Pusher 3 as Refn struggles to recover from the financial failure of Fear X. Click here for tickets and screening times and read on for the full announcement! With Blood on His...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Nicolas Winding Refn has a bit of a secret lurking on his directorial CV. After the disaster of his "Fear X," and wrapping up his "Pusher" trilogy, but before he came back into critical favor thanks to "Bronson" and "Valhalla Rising" (and long before his stylish crime duo of "Drive" and "Only God Forgives"), Winding Refn was broke and needed a quick gig. And so, he took the first thing he was offered: in this case, an episode of the long-running UK mysteries "Agatha Christie's Marple." Focusing on the mystery novelist's creation, an elderly detective (played here by Geraldine McEwan), the episode, named "Nemesis" is about as far as you can get from the ultraviolence and brooding synths of "Drive." Winding Refn recently told The Guardian that the experience was "extremely degrading. But it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I got slapped around and I needed to be slapped around. »
- Oliver Lyttelton
‘Only God Forgives’ review: Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘darkest and most oblique’ film (photo: Ryan Gosling in ‘Only God Forgives’) In Nicolas Winding Refn’s surrealist revenge thriller Only God Forgives, Julian (Ryan Gosling, of Refn’s Drive) and his brother Billy (Tom Burke) run a Muy Thai boxing academy in Indonesia. The place is a front for a drug-smuggling operation. Both brothers are criminally sadistic, but Billy is truly unhinged. In the first ten minutes of Only God Forgives, he attempts to buy sex with the twelve-year-old daughter of a brothel owner. When denied this particular fetish, Billy rapes and arbitrarily murders a young female prostitute. The police arrive on the scene led by captain Chang (veteran actor and Thai fighting master Vithaya Pansringarm), but as portrayed in Only God Forgives, Chang is an avenging angel, endowed with the ability to know the truth and mete out justice either swiftly or brutally — or both. »
- Tim Cogshell
Ahhh, is there anything more exciting than a film that's booed at Cannes? That prestigious bunch of know-it-alls and their old-timey audience theatrics. I wish people booed at the theaters I went to! Nothing gets my contrarian, backlash-chasing heart beating more than a theater full of angry cinephiles. Whatever is pissing them off so much, I definitely want in on. Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, The Pusher trilogy, Bronson, Valhalla Rising, Fear X) has joined the “booed-at-Cannes” club – Michelangelo Antonioni, Martin Scorsese, John Frankenheimer, Terrance Malick, and David Lynch are all members – with his latest overtly minimalist, arthouse, blood-soaked post-neo-noir, Only God Forgives.
- Harrison Foster
While doing press for Valhalla Rising, Danish American filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn announced that the film marked a new stage in his career. After the manic, Brechtian anti-biopic Bronson; the sprawling Pusher trilogy that’s more Gaspar Noe than Gaspar Noe; and the little-seen Fear X, Refn began a series of films about quiet, enigmatic supermen. He continued this focus with Drive, his commercial breakthrough, and has now followed it up with Only God Forgives, which sees a VOD and limited theatrical release this Friday. While Bronson and the first Pusher film were justifiably celebrated, it’s this current stage of his career that has, for many, defined what “a Nicolas Winding Refn film” means: atmospheric, ultra-violent, deliberately paced, heavy on style. Refn is one of the strangest young auteurs working today, in terms of both his esoteric films and his occasionally bizarre interviews. And his career is only going to get more interesting: his vast slate »
- Landon Palmer
"So," asks Nicolas Winding Refn, as we sit down for lunch in a swish new place in King's Cross, London, "what was the first reaction you had to my film? What was the first thought that went through your mind?"
Not only is this a reversal of the traditional interview roles, it's also a tricky question. The film under review is Only God Forgives, the follow-up to Refn's critically acclaimed and commercially successful Drive. Imagine a Quentin Tarantino homage to oriental slasher movies but directed by David Lynch at his most elliptical and unsettling, and you might get some idea of the strangeness of Only God Forgives. It features Ryan Gosling as a boxing promoter and drug dealer with impotence issues, Kristin Scott Thomas as his blond, »
- Andrew Anthony
Nicolas Winding Refn gained something of a cult following after Drive, his previous team up with Ryan Gosling, and the film even gained the Danish filmmaker a number of fans who would most likely usually favour more mainstream fare. His and Gosling’s follow-up, Only God Forgives, has just premiered at Cannes, playing in Competition, but it seems unlikely that this collaboration will result in the same adoration that Drive has been treated to, or crossover success. Far more stylised, violent and obtuse than Drive, Only God Forgives is a return to some of the more abstract work found in Refn’s filmography, such as Valhalla Rising or Fear X.
This would be no bad thing if there was something to be found within the abstraction beyond some handsome production design and reasonably pleasing lighting, but Only God Forgives may just be the dumbest film Refn has ever made. Allowing »
- Craig Skinner
Tarantino is out, Refn is in. At the start of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, it opens with the Klingon Proverb, "Revenge is a dish best served cold." Back in the 90s, Tarantino was leading the genre game in Cannes, winning the Palme d'Or for Pulp Fiction. While he's still making great films today, the next generation has tagged in. In 2011, Nicolas Winding Refn rocked the Croisette with the film Drive and he has returned this year to premiere Only God Forgives. Starring Ryan Gosling again this artsy, slow burn, extremely violent Bangkok-set revenge drama is a dish definitely served cold, with a slice of style and minor substance. Only God Forgives isn't that comparable to much of Nicolas Winding Refn's past work, even Drive, aside from maybe the structure and themes in Valhalla Rising or Fear X. That said, I believe Refn is one of the craziest, most creative, »
- Alex Billington
Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives arrived at the festival with a lot of expectations: reteaming the director with actor Ryan Gosling, many assumed it would be a sequel of sorts to their 2010 hit Drive. Unfortunately, many of those looking forward to the movie aren't exactly keen followers of the Danish auteur and were disappointed by this lurid, atmospheric drama. For those familiar with Refn's more experimental work – 2003's Fear X and 2009's Valhalla Rising in particular – this may well turn out to be one of his most distinctive works. Set in Bangkok, the film stars Ryan Gosling (in a role originally to be played by Luke Evans) as Julian, a British-American ex-pat now living in Bangkok, where he manages a boxing club. The club is a front for a drug-smuggling ring, dealing in heroin and cocaine, and is overseen by Julian's older brother Billy (Tom Burke). We don't »
Gist: Julien (Ryan Gosling) runs a Thai boxing club in Bangkok, but the business is a front for his family’s drug smuggling operation. When his brother is murdered, his mother, Jenna (Kristin Scott Thomas), orders him to find and kill the party responsible. The boxing club will utilized.
Prediction: This is Refn’s much anticipated follow-up to 2011’s Drive, which played in the Main Competition that year and snagged him Best Director at the fest. Refn reunites with Gosling and Larry Smith, his cinematographer from Bronson (2008), that Miss Marple television film from 2007, and Fear X (2003). A slot in the Main Competition seems inevitable for Only God Forgives – the film which Thierry showed surprise clips of at last year’s fest.
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- Nicholas Bell
12 items from 2013
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