Nicolas Winding Refn Calls Lars von Trier ‘Over the Hill’

Nicolas Winding Refn Cannes
Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Nicolas Winding Refn threw some serious shade at Lars von Trier, dismissing his fellow Danish filmmaker as “over the hill” at a press conference Friday for his new film “The Neon Demon.”

“He’s done a lot of drugs,” Refn said, before adding that the last time he saw von Trier, the director tried to sleep with Refn’s wife.

“He found some other slut,” Refn said.

This is not the first time that Refn has had harsh words for von Trier, the director of “Breaking the Waves” and “Dancer in the Dark.” In 2011, von Trier got into hot water at Cannes for making comments that were interpreted as being pro-Nazi. Refn said he was offended by the director’s remarks, prompting a profane rebuke from von Trier. There is also a family connection. Refn’s father, Anders, edited some of von Trier’s films.

“The Neon Demon” debuted this week at the Cannes Film Festival. It satirizes the world of fashion in Refn’s typical blood-drenched style, finding a way to mix cannibalism with haute couture. Elle Fanning stars as a model on the rise. “The Neon Demon” is the third film Refn has brought to Cannes, following “Drive” and “Only God Forgives.”

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Refn said his film is trying to sound the alarm for the way that the digital revolution is creating absurd and dangerous standards of beauty and creating an “alternate universe.” Reaction to “The Neon Demon” has been mixed, with some critics describing it as visually arresting, but vapid. Refn embraced the polarized response.

“Art is not about good or bad, guys,” he said. “Those days are over.”

Comparing himself to the Sex Pistols, the punk rock group that torched musical conventions, Refn positioned his work as part of “F— the establishment youth culture.”

It was certainly one of the more free-wheeling gatherings with the fourth estate this festival, with Refn peppering his commentary on beauty and desire with a generous helping of four-letter words. When not channeling Sid Vicious, he also took media through the blocking of one of “The Neon Demon’s” more memorable sequences. At one point in the movie, Jena Malone, playing a model, has sex with a corpse.

“It kind of escalated into this really intense necrophilia scene,” said Refn.

At the end of Malone’s stroking and kissing of the dead body, Refn declared to the actress, “We found the character. Now go with God.”

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  1. Bill says:

    Refn is the most overrated hack directed in Cannes and why his films keep going there must mean the fest somehow thinks it makes them cool.
    But seriously, is he calling his wife a slut here???

  2. V.C. says:

    Refn is a THIEF!!!
    He tries to come off as some hip filmmaker, but he’s nothing more than what I like to call:
    “The Danish Tarantino”
    Aside from the “Pusher” Series, which basically isn’t really flooded with as much substance as most make them out to be…
    His more recent films have been all but CRAP and THIEVERY!

    – “Bronson” : Great Performance, not a bad film, but come on…let’s start the comparisons:
    1.) The whole presence of the Theatrical Narrative by Hardy; the parts where he’s onstage…it’s ridiculous nobody seems to notice the all-too resemblance of the great American TV Show: “OZ”
    The Character in that show “Augustus Hill” whom is confined to a wheelchair Navigates EVERY Single Episode in a very similar form, especially in that being Theatrical.
    2.) The whole sequence of Bronson getting out of Prison and going back to his Parent’s flat; which up to now I just remember is totally similar to that of A Clockwork Orange when Alex DeLarge goes through the same kind of ordeal and finding himself basically without a Room, which has been taken by another.
    ***But here’s where it pisses me off the most:
    Bronson arrives at his eccentric Uncles flat and low and behold we step into an EXACT REPLICA of Blue Velvet. His Uncle parades around just like Frank Booth’s druggie pal had (Dean Stockwell), and the Transvestite Prostitutes along with the Red Velvet Drapes…….Holy Shit, why don’t you just remake the same movie dickhead!
    3.) In my humble opinion, Bronson is nothing more than something of a rip-off or play-on of the great Andrew Dominik film “CHOPPER,” I always say to those that talk highly about Bronson, well have you seen “Chopper,” which most likely they haven’t and I could careless what you say, Chopper is far better than Bronson, because of it’s originality.
    …..There’s plenty more I could reference here about Bronson alone, the Kubrick scene-stealing aspects, the Terry Gilliam “12 Monkey’s” Looney Bin….but I will leave it be.

    – “Drive” : Here we go again, but this time practically a lot of the film is one big rip-off waste of time!
    1.) I think it’s ridiculous that this film says it’s based off a Novel of some sort, but in reality, the whole thing is practically a remake of Ryan O’Neal film from the early 80s (I believe that’s the time it came out) called “DRIVER”
    Similarities between the two are all-too annoying to even think about, cause the characters themselves are basically the same, in that both films main characters speak only a handful of Dialogue, along with the fact that their names are never Revealed and simply is credited as “Driver” in the end-credits.
    Both films also are about semi-professional Drivers whom are specifically skilled to take on jobs for Criminals that are usually involved in robbery.
    The other thing that makes no sense to me is how Refn’s film says it’s based not only on a book/novel, but it’s also written by some writer that actually has some decent credit to his resume. What I’m getting at is why all the “Based on this…” crap. You should’ve just said, it’s a remake of the O’Neal film, instead of claiming it as an original, not to mention he pathetically won Best Director at Cannes for this dumb film.

    – “Only God Forgives” : Well, I gotta say, I was happy when this film premiered to a plethora of Boo’s from the Audience at Cannes, cause I thought from the looks of the Trailer, “here we go again…another wasted time on a dumb stolen plotted flick”
    The only thing that in my opinion is basically a rip off is that one can obviously tell and he’s even admitted that Gaspar Noe’s “Enter The Void” was a big influence on the story and even Location…..wow, at least he admitted that.
    >>>>>Here’s my BIGGEST PROBLEM: The film ends with the beginning of the Credits with a “Dedicated to Alejandro Jodorowsky,”
    ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!
    First of all, it’s one thing to thank a Filmmaker, but to Dedicate the film before any other credits role, and to a Filmmaker who’s still alive and well and making films….what the fuck is this prick thinking?
    To me, I felt like it was like Refn is basically giving a Rim-Job to Jodorowsky and sadly it had to be with such a dumb movie.

    I’m NOT much of Lars von Trier fan myself, but Trier is without a doubt far better a Filmmaker than Refn and at least Trier has made films that are NOT complete rip-offs….
    “Neon Demon” looks too much like a Car Commercial, which is you didn’t know is exactly what Refn did direct for all those dumb annoying Matthew Maconahay Lincoln Car Commercials that NOBODY liked and everybody HATED!!!

    Refn always refers himself as an Artist and guess what: A REAL ARTIST DOESN’T EVER REFER TO ANYTHING THEY DO OR THEMSELVES AS ART OR ARTIST!

    So, in the end, Refn is nothing more than a Con-Artist and an actual Artist, along with being a complete overrated dickhead.

  3. Ben says:

    The “punk director” Refn starts to believe his own myth…Lars von Trier made very good films in the last years that got excellent reviews. “Nymphomaniac” was groundbreaking. His new ‘serial killer’ project pre-sold worldwide and I can’t wait to see it. Von Trier is doing fine as a filmmaker. What are the artistic achievements of Nicolas Winding Refn after his overrated “Drive”, a film he didn’t write or produce? The ridiculous “Only God Forgives” and his new stinker “The Neon Demon”, both written and produced by him…Wow. Refn’s career doesn’t look good anymore. Somebody should tell him. He might be over the hill.

  4. John says:

    spoiler alert

  5. wtf? says:

    Thanks for spoiling that crucial scene, idiots.

  6. Fre says:

    “Throw some serious shade” is not proper writing for a publication like Variety.

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