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Watch: 1-Hour Documentary 'NWR' About Nicolas Winding Refn With Ryan Gosling, Mads Mikkelsen & More

by Kevin Jagernauth
June 23, 2012 12:49 PM
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Nicolas Winding Refn

Nicolas Winding Refn has never been busier. He's currently in post on "Only God Forgives" with a number of projects in the works including "I Walk With The Dead" with Carey Mulligan; he's producing a prequel to "Maniac Cop"; looking at "The Button Man" to direct; and bringing "Barbarella" to the small screen. So Refn continues to quickly move forward, but thankfully, someone has slowed him down just enough to take a long look at where he's been.

Laurent Duroche has directed "NWR," a one-hour documentary about the filmmaker that features extensive participation from Refn himself along with input from his friends and collaborators, including Alejandro Jodoroswky, Ryan Gosling, Mads Mikkelsen, Gaspar Noé, Zlatko Buric and more. The doc takes a journey through Refn's filmography right up to visiting him on set as he shoots "Only God Forgives." For Refn junkies? Here is your fix. Note: while portions of this are in French, Refn himself speaks in English. Watch the whole thing below (via Filmmaker).

Speaking of "Only God Forgives," wondering where it will fit in Refn's oeuvre, one that is arguably a mix of gritty realism (the first half of his career including the "Pusher" films) and fantastical ("Bronson" and everything that follows it)? Well, while speaking with Empire in the latest issue (though not online) the Danish filmmaker says the Thai Western 'Forgives' is a direct continuation of those films and where he left off with "Drive."

"This one is very much a continuation of that language," he said of his latest picture. "It's based on real emotions, but set in a heightened reality. It's a fairy tale." The director also notes that "Only God Forgives" -- which was supposed to originally follow "Valhalla Rising" -- changed after he worked with Ryan Gosling on the aforementioned neo-noir. "I wanted to do a Western, a straight up gangster movie after 'Valhalla Rising,' " he said. "But all that changed."

In related news, as has been known for a while, Refn has shot a short film with Blake Lively for Gucci that will premiere on September 1st at the Venice Film Festival (check out an image of the pair looking over their work below). Could this be greater evidence that Refn will also be there with "Only God Forgives"? Let's hope so. And speaking of which, here below you'll find some behind the scenes pics from the film (via Lawless) that have been knocking around the web for a while now.

Nicolas Winding Refn Blake Lively
Only God Forgives set pic skip crop
Only God Forgives set pic skip crop
Only God Forgives set pic skip crop
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  • Laurent Duroche | June 25, 2012 8:04 PMReply

    Of course, I'm really happy to see that the movie raises interest, that's why we made it. In an ideal world, I would have put it myself online for people to watch it for free. But a movie has to live a certain life (festivals, TV, DVD) to allow people who made it to live from it. Of course, when it's Transformers 3, who gives a damn ? The movie will make billions whatever happens. But for a very small production like this documentary, it could easily kill it before it even began to exist. I hope you understand my point. Anyway, I'm glad people like it, and I invite you to follow the Facebook page of the movie to be informed of his availibility when things will move forward (

  • GillesDC | June 25, 2012 8:52 AMReply

    Please don't watch this. People should be paid for their work. Posts like this one are killing the career of this documentary, it's a shame.

  • Laurent Duroche | June 25, 2012 7:10 AMReply

    Please, consider that this video has been illegaly posted online, and is not authorized by the author, being me.

  • Anonymouse | June 25, 2012 3:33 PM

    thanks for a great documentary. however, without the guidance of this website I would not have even been aware of it. maybe receiving a wider audience online is a form of compensation in itself as it cuts distribution costs to nil?

    anyhow, i hope you get proper compensation for your hard work and look forward to your next venture.

  • Gilles | June 25, 2012 4:38 AMReply

    Very interesting protrait.

    But what a guy :D. He's kind a shy poser.

  • DG | June 24, 2012 10:03 PMReply

    I'm watching it here right now if anyones looking for a link. There's a bunch of annoying commercials tho unfortuantely-

  • joseph | June 24, 2012 4:02 PMReply

    removed.. where else can i find it?

  • jingmei | June 24, 2012 10:24 AMReply

    That's also why he showed up et won a Cannes. Les francais make awesome stuff.

  • Vince | June 23, 2012 8:49 PMReply

    Loved this doc! Thank you for posting it!

  • anonymouse | June 23, 2012 7:02 PMReply

    from what this doc shows, nwr seems to be a highly functional autistic savant. the shyness, unable to read until a teenager, strong visual sense, little importance to dialog, obsessive (the robot thing was quite touching), etc. am i wrong about this? it's just an observation on my part having had kinship with other autistic people.

  • John | June 24, 2012 5:22 PM

    I thought the same thing . . .

  • Leonardo | June 23, 2012 4:54 PMReply

    It's a great documentary, and even if you found it pretentious i still love it, i didn't understand the french parts obviously but i still didn't like what Jodorowsky said.

  • Pet | June 23, 2012 7:36 PM

    Pfff....why do you presume that not knowing French is an obvious thing? The doc itself was very infromative.

  • charlie | June 23, 2012 2:37 PMReply

    That was great! thanks

  • LeTenia | June 23, 2012 2:31 PMReply

    what is gaspar noe saying?!

  • pichi moham | June 23, 2012 1:19 PMReply

    As much as I like Refn, dude is a little rude.

  • Lou | June 23, 2012 2:01 PM

    More than a little rude. But nothing compared to Jodorowski. The interesting parts of what you call a 'documentary' (self-celebrative exercise?) are the ones in French. You should have these translated into English. They would dampen your enthusiasm about the guy. He is certainly prolific, though.

  • Lou | June 23, 2012 1:12 PMReply

    This is a monument to himself. I am speechless.

  • blue ivy | June 23, 2012 12:56 PMReply

    There is something terribly wrong about Refn directing a short film for Blake Lively... one is too good for the other.

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