Born in Denmark, Nicolas Winding Refn leaves his native country for New York after high school to attend drama classes. Expelled for throwing a desk in the middle of class, he returns to Copenhagen and applies to the Danish Film School… only to drop out after a month of classes. Luck comes his way, however, when a producer gives him the opportunity to transform a short into a feature film the he had written, directed and acted in. The 1996 movie Pusher (1996) is born, and with it, the career of 26 year-old Refn.
In addition to allowing audiences to discover a powerful visual style (often using a hand-held camera) and introducing them to those who will become his go-to actors (Mads Mikkelsen, Zlatko Buric, Kim Bodnia), the film is so successful that two sequels follow, Pusher 2 (2004) and Pusher 3 (2005). In the meantime, Nicolas Winding Refn releases the thriller Bleeder (1999), then directs John Turturro in Inside Job (2002), his first English-language film. Although it is well-received by critics and the public, it such a financial disaster, that he is forced to return to Denmark to regroup and reinvent himself in the aftermath of the Pusher trilogy.
In 2006, he embarks on his most ambitious project: Valhalla Rising, a Vikings-era saga, where Mads Mikkelsen plays a one-eyed and mute warrior. But the vagaries of production and the difficulties associated with the screenplay (which he rewrote several times) lead him to temporarily suspend his work on the film and accept another project, Bronson. Lauded at various festivals, this high-impact movie, carried by a transfigured Tom Hardy, traces the life of the most dangerous prisoner in England. Only after Bronson’s completion can the filmmaker resume his work on Valhalla Rising, a work that takes the form of an initiatory quest, where NWR continues exploring his favored themes such as man’s relationship to violence.
A prolific director, Nicolas Winding Refn strikes again with film noir Drive, the story of a stuntman, played by Ryan Gosling, who becomes a professional driver for the Mafia at nightfall. Presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, the feature film is acclaimed by critics and earns him the Best Director Award. In 2013, the ultra-violent Only God Forgives (also presented on the Croisette), is headlined by Gosling once again. The following year, the director is chosen to be one of the nine members of the Jury of the 67th Cannes Film Festival, chaired by Jane Campion. Having become an essential presence at Cannes, the director unveils his new 2016 feature film featuring Elle Fanning, The Neon Demon, with its highly-polished aesthetic.
(source : Allociné)
Nicolas Winding Refn
will present his “Digital Project" (approx. 30 min), followed by Night Tide, followed by The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds on Monday, October 16 octobre at the Institut Lumière at 8pm
He will also introduce Night Tide on Tuesday, October 17 at the Cinéma Comoedia at 11am
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