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BlackBook’s Weekly Round-up

©ourtesy of BlackBook

BLACKBOOK WEEK END ROUNDUP

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Obsession, Submission, and ‘Only God Forgives’: A Conversation With Nicolas Winding Refn

©ourtesy of BlackBooknicolas refn

It’s the hottest day of the summer and Nicolas Winding Refn is sitting outside in a button down shirt peeling hard-boiled eggs. When I meet the acclaimed Danish director at the Bowery Hotel, he’s eating his lunch and taking interviews in the shade, not daring to remove his sunglasses and as always, keeps it cool. This is the second time we’ve met, having previously done an interview back in 2010 for Valhalla Rising—but things were different then. Not only was I quite young and on one of my first in-person interviews with a favorite director and shaking in all-too vibrant dress, but this was before the cult of Drive and the first taste of major Refn appreciation in Hollywood. Known for his violent, color-drenched films that serve up his fetishistic urges on a platter, Refn’s oeuvre is as stimulating and arousing as it is coldly removed from the reality of everyday life. No matter the subject, his characters exist in a world of his own creating, a heightened place where the inextricable link between death and sex is always present and gesture speaks far louder than words. His films are aggressive and carnal yet rather than giving us a stark look at that sense of grit, he slowly inches us towards that internal fire, shining a light onto the beauty in the brutal. With Drive, his ferocious pop fairytale, we saw a softer side to Refn—albeit still dangerous. There was a sense of romance and tenderness we hadn’t seen before in films like Bronson, Valhalla Rising, or the Pusher films. And in the process of creating that film and exposing himself to the Hollywood fantasy, he found his American leading man Ryan Gosling, whose near-silent protagonist drove us through a bloody kinetic love story with a bite. Now having re-teamed once again for Refn’s latest

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