PRESS CONFERENCE – Nicolas Winding Refn: “My approach is somewhat pornographic – it’s what excites me that counts”

Nicolas Winding Refn © AFP

The Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn and the entire team of Only God Forgives, a feature film in Competition, came to meet the press. Selected highlights.

Nicolas Winding Refn on writing the screenplay:
I was in an existentialist phase, full of troubles. I was permanently angry and didn’t know how to channel it. In those moments, you turn to God. That’s when I had the idea of a man who thinks he’s God and of the relationship between an all-devouring mother and her son. The film I’ve made  is about the notions of spirituality and mysticism.

Nicolas Winding Refn, on the violence running through the film:
Art is an act of violence. My approach is somewhat pornographic – it’s what excites me that counts. I can’t censor this need. Don’t forget that our very birth impels us towards violence. It’s instinctive, but down the years it becomes more mind-based and art allows us to express it.

Nicolas Winding Refn, on the character of Julian (Ryan Gosling) :
The idea was to tell the story of a man plunged into a journey without knowing when it will ever end. He is bound, chained to his mother, and in order to free himself from her, he has to pass through a form of violence. Julian doesn’t say much but the language of silence is the most poetic of all. Images and sounds touch our emotions more than dialogue ever can, So we made use of movement and space to describe the character.

Cliff Martinez, on the music:
I didn’t think that music could actually replace the dialogue, but I tried to tell the story musically Pop music and  Wagner have  had a big influence on me. Nicolas asked me to compose something different from Drive. I turned towards a music more typical of science fiction and horror films.


Reported by BP