Nicolas Winding Refn has been riding high these last few years. Some have proclaimed him the new Hollywood Goldenboy. Refn’s films span the genre gamet from crime to viking to atmospheric David Lynch homage.
After delivering his breakthrough film Drive starring Ryan Gosling, Refn’s latest Only God Forgives has been a highly anticipated film on most cinephiles watch lists .
However, the film which premiered at Cannes this past week was met with booing and jeering.
Vulture caught up with the director and he had this to say:
Vulture: I’m not sure if you’re aware, but at the press screening this morning, there was a smattering of boos and some walkouts.
Nicolas Winding Refn: Oh, cool.
Vulture: You’re excited about that?
NWR: I mean, how can I expect someone to not react like this when on one hand you are dropping what you do in everyone’s face and at the same time saying, “Love me, please,” you know? You’re going to get that. You know, great art — horrible thing to say — but art is meant to divide, because if it doesn’t divide, it doesn’t penetrate, and if it doesn’t penetrate, you just consume it.
Vulture: Any idea what they were booing about? Either it’s the violence or they thought it was too stylistic. I don’t know what it was.
NWR: People have so many strange opinions, and also, a lot of a people begin to own you and they want you to do things in a specific way.
Vulture: What the reviews seemed to say was it was too much style over substance.
NWR: Wasn’t that the same critique they gave Drive? And I think it’s a strange critique. I mean substance, God, there’s so much going on. What else would they want?
Vulture: The Brooklyn Academy of Music has a film series called “Booed at Cannes,” and Taxi Driver is in that.
NWR: Well, I think we are in pretty good company then.