Cannes Interview: Nicolas Winding Refn on Cinema, Art & Hollywood
by Alex Billington
May 30, 2013
"Art is not about perfection… perfection is not art." Now this is a great interview. At the end of the Cannes Film Festival I was given the opportunity to interview Nicolas Winding Refn, the controversial Danish writer & director of Only God Forgives, Drive, Valhalla Rising and Bronson. I was at Cannes back in 2011 when Drive premiered and was on the positive side of Only God Forgives when it premiered this year. I lucked out and ended up having a full 22-minute video discussion with Refn in Cannes, covering art and cinema to the Chinese food he just ate, to collaboration in Thailand and violence in society to everything else inbetween. Plus, that James Bond scoop I posted the other day is my last question at the end. Must watch!
We were shooting on a rooftop with music and crowds, apologies for the noise. Also, I'm fairly sure that red bottle is a character in this short with the way it moves around. I did my best to set up and frame Refn while keeping the interview on track, which was a challenge. One of the most invigorating conversations I've had.
My interview with Only God Forgives writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn, recorded in Cannes:
Thank you to Radius-TWC for arranging, and to Nicolas Winding Refn for taking the time to talk with me. I hope I didn't embarrass myself! This was a tough interview, Refn was one of the most intimidating directors I've had the honor of interviewing, he's up there with the likes of Ridley Scott and David Fincher. It was my intention to cover a wider range of topics about Only God Forgives and working with Ryan Gosling again, but I was challenged by him to ask much better questions. I'm quite happy with the intriguing discussion we did end up having. Whether you love or hate Nicolas Winding Refn, there's no denying he has a unique view of this world that plays heavily into the films he makes. I hope you've enjoyed hearing from this filmmaker.
Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives will be released in limited theaters by Radius-TWC starting July 19th this summer. Despite divisive reactions, it's worth a watch if you like Refn's violent style and Gosling.