Competition | Update : 13.02.18 . 09:45 AM

The Neon Demon, when beauty becomes obsession

Film still of The Neon Demon

Film still of The Neon Demon © Gunther Campine

Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn has earned a reputation for adopting, and usurping, cinematic codes and genres, most particularly in Drive with which he won the Best Director award at Cannes in 2011. This time he imparts his polished aesthetic to the horror genre with The Neon Demon, selected in Competition. Set in Los Angeles, in a universe as real as it is artificial, the movie depicts characters obsessed by beauty.

Far from the male characters thirsting for vengeance portrayed in Pusher (1996), Drive (2011) or Only God Forgives (2013), Nicolas Winding Refn sets the story of The Neon Demon in the feminine environment of the fashion world to denounce the obsession for physical beauty and the craving for recognition. The film maker has been mulling it over for several years, the beauty that he portrays in The Neon Demon; he has seen the power of it in his own milieu in the course of his professional life.

To personify beauty, the director chose Elle Fanning, who was highly praised in The Door in the Floor (2004), Babel (2006) and Somewhere (2010), and whose “extraordinary capacity to transform herself” immediately captivated him. The actress plays Jesse, a young girl of limpid beauty who, as she realises her dream of becoming a model, arouses the jealousy and the desire of her rivals, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee, in their quest for a physical ideal.

Elle Fanning reminds me of the great stars of the silent era, even though she is an absolutely modern actress.

Competition18.05.2016 . 2:53 PM

THE NEON DEMON by Nicolas WINDING REFN - Trailer

To create terror from such beauty is the challenge taken up by Nicolas Winding Refn in his first horror thriller, where he builds an atmosphere that pervades even the movie’s soundscape. To this end, he has once again joined up with Cliff Martinez, already acclaimed for the sound tracks of Drive and Only God Forgives.

Written by Eugénie Malinjod

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THE NEON DEMON
In Competition – Feature Films

THE NEON DEMON

Nicolas WINDING REFN

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, FRANCE, DENMARK - 2016

01:57

The same day

Competition Released on 20.05.16

The Neon Demon, when beauty becomes obsession

Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn has earned a reputation for adopting, and usurping, cinematic codes and genres, most particularly in Drive with which he won the Best Director award at Cannes in 2011. This time he imparts his polished aesthetic to the horror genre with The Neon Demon, selected in Competition. Set in Los Angeles, in a universe as real as it is artificial, the movie depicts characters obsessed by beauty.

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Competition20.05.16

The Neon Demon, when beauty becomes obsession

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