Peter Refn, Danish cinema owner, distributor and sometime filmmaker, died Dec. 28 in Copenhagen after a long struggle against blood and bone cancer. He would have been 55 on Jan. 13.
Born in 1940, Refn worked as assistant to film directors Henning Carlsen, Annelise Hovmand and Johan Jacobsen before directing the short film “The Afternoon Guest” (1969), which won a Bodil (Danish Oscar) for best short film and played at several international festivals.
This was followed by a feature, “Violets Are Blue” (1974), a probing look at the embryonic women’s lib movement, which Warner Bros, picked up for several territories.
Also in 1974, Refn acquired the Grand Theatre in downtown Copenhagen and eventually converted it into a sixplex. He established the film distribbery Camera Film, and became one of Scandinavia’s key art film distributors, handling the work of directors like Kurosawa, Warhol, Tarkovski, Kieslowski, Ang Lee and Jane Campion. His most recent acquisition was the Kiwi pic, “Once Were Warriors.”
He had planned to resume filmmaking, and was working on a screen adaptation of his 1989 novella, “The Nocturnal Confessions of Constance Funk,” at the time of his death.
Survived by his wife, Annette Trampedach, his mother and two brothers, Anders, a film director, and Jesper.