While at the Venice Film Festival to pay tribute to Ruggero Deodato, “Drive” and “The Neon Demon” filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn participated in a masterclass and bashed streamers for being “overfunded and rotten with money and cocaine.”
The director, who previously infuriated some in the film biz by claiming that “cinema is dead,” said he has somewhat changed his mind and will now fight for cinema to continue on because streamers have “kind of saturated everything” and “devalued content to just a swipe.”
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Refn, who last directed the series “Copenhagen Cowboy” for Netflix, said “it’s incredibly sad and terrifying because art is essentially the only thing – besides, you know, sex, water and happiness — that makes us exist.”
“Even though I projected it was dead a few years ago, it has changed into something we have to fight for,” he added. “Theatrical movies are part of what makes us human and experience creativity.”
The director, who lives in Copenhagen with his wife and children, went on to tie streamers to the dangers of artificial intelligence saying that it’s “certainly something affecting our industry.”
“AI is not an artist,” Refn proclaimed. “AI is a product.”
Refn also told the crowd that he is working on a new movie. Before “Copenhagen Cowboy” for Netflix, the director teamed up with Amazon for the series “Too Old to Die Young.” The 2019 release, starring Miles Teller in the lead role, did not get a second season on the platform.
During the masterclass, Refn reminisced about his life as a teenager in New York City and how he started to love violent movies to “piss off” his mother, Vibeke Winding, a Danish cinematographer who was appalled by violence and “forced (him) to go see certain movies” at arthouses in Manhattan.
“We are a product of our upbringing (…) and I grew up in New York and and my mother and stepfather were Scandinavian socialists who hated American violent films.
“I was searching for that rebellious attitude, and obviously a movie like ‘Suspiria’ made a huge impression on me. I remember I think I was watching with my mother because she was very curious to see what I was looking at, and she was horrified, which made it even better,” said Refn with a smile.
He also spoke about realizing he wanted to be a filmmaker after seeing the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” at the Cinema Village in New York. “It’s a very horrifying film, but it showed me what a movie could provoke. And that was like painting, like a piece of musical.”
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