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Nicolas Winding Refn addresses Only God Forgives getting booed at Cannes

May. 24, 2013by: Niki Stephens

Many of us would have killed to check out the films that have been shown at Cannes this year. One I know that several cinephiles are curious about is Nicolas Winding Refn's GOD ONLY FORGIVES. When it screened this morning, the critics were not too pleased, booing through the course of the flick. There are certain scenes in particular that seemed to horrify, but I'll leave that out so I'm not ruining anything for those who were not in attendance.

Vulture spoke with the director and brought what had happened to his attention:

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.

So I think it's fair to say after reading this and some other in-depth reviews of the film, that those who enjoyed DRIVE will most likely favor this as well. Except for the fact that Vulture mentions in a previous article that this installment did not have a "sweetness to leaven things". However, from the ashes rose Kristin Scott Thomas, whose performance as the main character's Mother garnered several positive reviews. But that was it.

Now I'm really curious.

Source: Vulture

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12:51PM on 05/28/2013

Curious? Why? Just from this Interview?

His endorsing of his own movie made you question the boos? His explanation was just as arrogant and pretentious as the movie seems to be. Plus, his explanation of his movie being art, and meant to divide, is complete and utter bullshit, movies are meant to be enjoyed, they are entertainment at the same time being art, but this art form is meant to be enjoyable, which is why people would PAY to see it. What a load of shit this guy has flowing from his mouth, he is lying to himself. He wanted
His endorsing of his own movie made you question the boos? His explanation was just as arrogant and pretentious as the movie seems to be. Plus, his explanation of his movie being art, and meant to divide, is complete and utter bullshit, movies are meant to be enjoyed, they are entertainment at the same time being art, but this art form is meant to be enjoyable, which is why people would PAY to see it. What a load of shit this guy has flowing from his mouth, he is lying to himself. He wanted people to enjoy it, of course!
Your Reply:



12:49PM on 05/28/2013

Curious? Why? Just from this Interview?

His endorsing of his own movie made you question the boos? His explanation was just as arrogant and pretentious as the movie seems to be. Plus, his explanation of his movie being art, and meant to divide, is complete and utter bullshit, movies are meant to be enjoyed, they are entertainment at the same time being art, but this art form is meant to be enjoyable, which is why people would PAY to see it. What a load of shit this guy has flowing from his mouth, he is lying to himself. He wanted
His endorsing of his own movie made you question the boos? His explanation was just as arrogant and pretentious as the movie seems to be. Plus, his explanation of his movie being art, and meant to divide, is complete and utter bullshit, movies are meant to be enjoyed, they are entertainment at the same time being art, but this art form is meant to be enjoyable, which is why people would PAY to see it. What a load of shit this guy has flowing from his mouth, he is lying to himself. He wanted people to like it, of course!!!
Your Reply:



9:08PM on 05/27/2013
I haven't seen drive but have heard from quite a few people that Drive was terrible. Howeve, people walking out of and booing a movie at a supposedly sophisticated film festival makes me want to watch it that much more.
I haven't seen drive but have heard from quite a few people that Drive was terrible. Howeve, people walking out of and booing a movie at a supposedly sophisticated film festival makes me want to watch it that much more.
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+4
1:21AM on 05/26/2013

This is a director

People feel the need to like this guy because he's pretty mainstream for making art-house type dramas, and everyone loves to be able to talk to about movies in a sophisticated, arbitrary way.

That's not an insult. The guy obviously has skill.

But here's the thing - no one person is infallible. It's entirely possible (gasp) that the director of Drive did a crap movie. I imagine many wont want to admit that (outside of critics). Either way, it doesn't matter if its a "crap" movie, if you
People feel the need to like this guy because he's pretty mainstream for making art-house type dramas, and everyone loves to be able to talk to about movies in a sophisticated, arbitrary way.

That's not an insult. The guy obviously has skill.

But here's the thing - no one person is infallible. It's entirely possible (gasp) that the director of Drive did a crap movie. I imagine many wont want to admit that (outside of critics). Either way, it doesn't matter if its a "crap" movie, if you enjoy it you enjoy it. I love A LOT of awful movies. I unfortunately hyped Drive too much and it didn't live up to it.
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12:30AM on 05/26/2013
Driver was good, and Bronson was incredible, so this movie's in good hands in my opinion. Ryan Gosling is starting to bore me though and that's my only concern.
Driver was good, and Bronson was incredible, so this movie's in good hands in my opinion. Ryan Gosling is starting to bore me though and that's my only concern.
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9:27PM on 05/25/2013
I like Refn's films, but even from these little snippets you can tell he's a little bit full of himself. For instance, when he says great art is meant to divide I wanted to interject and say, "whoa man, who the hell said your films are great art? you?!" Drive and Bronson are good films, and sure their content and style divide viewers, but i still don't think that necessarily means they're great art.
I like Refn's films, but even from these little snippets you can tell he's a little bit full of himself. For instance, when he says great art is meant to divide I wanted to interject and say, "whoa man, who the hell said your films are great art? you?!" Drive and Bronson are good films, and sure their content and style divide viewers, but i still don't think that necessarily means they're great art.
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+8
4:27PM on 05/25/2013

Hey! Movie screen! Boo hiss!!!!

People still "boo" during a movie at the theater?
People still "boo" during a movie at the theater?
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2:03PM on 05/25/2013
I love how Refn addressed art as a divide, and kept his cool. I respect that. I am excited to see this.
I love how Refn addressed art as a divide, and kept his cool. I respect that. I am excited to see this.
Your Reply:



10:46AM on 05/25/2013
Don't care, still my most anticipated film this year other than MAYBE Before Midnight.
Don't care, still my most anticipated film this year other than MAYBE Before Midnight.
Your Reply:



-1
6:09AM on 05/25/2013

Seen the film

It has to be said that it is a chore to get through...
It has to be said that it is a chore to get through...
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4:50AM on 05/25/2013

not surprised

i loved Drive and was so happy to have it on disc to share with friends and family. i got responses ranging from profuse thanks to what the fuck was that? nothing in between really. it was just that kind of movie and i am sure this film is no different.
i loved Drive and was so happy to have it on disc to share with friends and family. i got responses ranging from profuse thanks to what the fuck was that? nothing in between really. it was just that kind of movie and i am sure this film is no different.
Your Reply:



1:23AM on 05/25/2013
Artsy but rather grandmotherly crowd those Cannes-people, they appreciate some fine films but are queasy with violence & weirdness. Some of them. It seems like this film is a bloody masterpiece at the very least visually.
Artsy but rather grandmotherly crowd those Cannes-people, they appreciate some fine films but are queasy with violence & weirdness. Some of them. It seems like this film is a bloody masterpiece at the very least visually.
Your Reply:



11:09PM on 05/24/2013
Still wish he would have done The Equalizer.....
Still wish he would have done The Equalizer.....
Your Reply:



10:50PM on 05/24/2013
Why is it I go to movies surrounded by mouthbreathers and never hear boos, but uber-snobs at Cannes seem to do it all the time. Are they primarily boozed up or something?
Why is it I go to movies surrounded by mouthbreathers and never hear boos, but uber-snobs at Cannes seem to do it all the time. Are they primarily boozed up or something?
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4:01PM on 05/25/2013
Uber-snobs have the sense of entitlement and think their opinion's right because 'they understand art' while the mouthbreathers are hypnotized by the magic picture show and 'splosions....
Uber-snobs have the sense of entitlement and think their opinion's right because 'they understand art' while the mouthbreathers are hypnotized by the magic picture show and 'splosions....
+28
10:45PM on 05/24/2013

Pusher

I'm fine with differing opinion. I loved Drive, but if you didn't, that is just as valid. But people talking about Refn and his "style" like they just planted the first flag on the moon: He has been doing this style of film since '96. This is nothing new. If your delicate sensibilities are offended or you get the vapors from watching his films you are very capable of not watching them. But don't pretend it just happened. It didn't. It has been happening for a long time. He didn't come out of
I'm fine with differing opinion. I loved Drive, but if you didn't, that is just as valid. But people talking about Refn and his "style" like they just planted the first flag on the moon: He has been doing this style of film since '96. This is nothing new. If your delicate sensibilities are offended or you get the vapors from watching his films you are very capable of not watching them. But don't pretend it just happened. It didn't. It has been happening for a long time. He didn't come out of nowhere. He isn't, or at least shouldn't be, sneaking up on anyone at this point. Personally, I love the guy, and am glad to have him operating in somewhat the mainstream. Better than another fucking Simon West or Len Wiseman.
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11:29PM on 05/24/2013
Amen!
Amen!
9:55AM on 05/26/2013
People like to think that an over dose of violence or nudity is exploitive. It's easy to write it off that way, instead of finding the deeper meanings in a story.
People like to think that an over dose of violence or nudity is exploitive. It's easy to write it off that way, instead of finding the deeper meanings in a story.
11:15AM on 05/26/2013
you basically nailed it with this comment, hence so many people agreeing with you
you basically nailed it with this comment, hence so many people agreeing with you
+15
10:11PM on 05/24/2013
Not getting booed or being booed or not, I'll judge for myself when I watch the movie.
Not getting booed or being booed or not, I'll judge for myself when I watch the movie.
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+10
9:59PM on 05/24/2013
I'm neutral on the movie until I see it but what he said about true art being divisive is spot on so I applaud him for that.
I'm neutral on the movie until I see it but what he said about true art being divisive is spot on so I applaud him for that.
Your Reply:



8:15PM on 05/24/2013

Not the first time something has been booed

I can't remember some films that the French hated but I liked.
I can't remember some films that the French hated but I liked.
Your Reply:



8:14PM on 05/24/2013

Not the first time something has been booed

I can't remember some films that the French hated but I liked.
I can't remember some films that the French hated but I liked.
Your Reply:



+13
8:12PM on 05/24/2013
Very well spoken director, I like him more after reading this.
Very well spoken director, I like him more after reading this.
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7:50PM on 05/24/2013
It should be noted that Only God Forgives also received a standing ovation during its premiere at Cannes.
It should be noted that Only God Forgives also received a standing ovation during its premiere at Cannes.
Your Reply:



7:49PM on 05/24/2013
Cannes is weird, Didnt they give Clerks 2 a standing ovation?
Cannes is weird, Didnt they give Clerks 2 a standing ovation?
Your Reply:



8:52PM on 05/24/2013
Yeah they did, I was there actually.
Yeah they did, I was there actually.
11:31PM on 05/24/2013
It was good but not that good
It was good but not that good
+33
7:30PM on 05/24/2013

Maybe they were saying "boo-urns"

I can't wait to boo-urns this myself
I can't wait to boo-urns this myself
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9:42AM on 05/25/2013
"I was saying BooUrns!" -Hans
"I was saying BooUrns!" -Hans
7:28PM on 05/24/2013
If anything I'm actually more excited to see it now.
If anything I'm actually more excited to see it now.
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7:03PM on 05/24/2013
The booing just makes me want to see it even more now. After Bronson and Drive this man can do no wrong in my book.
The booing just makes me want to see it even more now. After Bronson and Drive this man can do no wrong in my book.
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-13
7:01PM on 05/24/2013

Am I?

Am I the only one who didn't care for Drive?
Am I the only one who didn't care for Drive?
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7:15PM on 05/24/2013
personally i wanted to Boo that movie too.

I thought the violence was only there to shock the viewers and didnt serve and purpose to the story
personally i wanted to Boo that movie too.

I thought the violence was only there to shock the viewers and didnt serve and purpose to the story
7:22PM on 05/24/2013
Definitely not. One of the most overrated movies in recent memory.
Definitely not. One of the most overrated movies in recent memory.
7:33PM on 05/24/2013
couldn't agree more. Drive was one of the worst movies I have ever seen, it's completely boring which i think is the worst thing a film can be.
couldn't agree more. Drive was one of the worst movies I have ever seen, it's completely boring which i think is the worst thing a film can be.
7:34PM on 05/24/2013
It's not that it was the worst movie or anything, it's just not good. Haha. It had more blank stares then the Twilight movies. Awkward music. The action scenes were so-so at best, the violence didn't bother me, but it didn't entertain me. The movie seems to try hard to be artsy, but that is just my opinion.
It's not that it was the worst movie or anything, it's just not good. Haha. It had more blank stares then the Twilight movies. Awkward music. The action scenes were so-so at best, the violence didn't bother me, but it didn't entertain me. The movie seems to try hard to be artsy, but that is just my opinion.
7:51PM on 05/24/2013
You guys are so cute.
You guys are so cute.
8:01PM on 05/24/2013
Thank you >.<
Thank you >.<
8:15PM on 05/24/2013
I liked "Drive". It was filmed to feel very dream like but I think it was overpraised.
I liked "Drive". It was filmed to feel very dream like but I think it was overpraised.
11:34PM on 05/24/2013
I think it's hilarious it seems now whenever there's an article about this, or something related to "Drive", someone inevitably asks the question "Am I the only one". No, you're not. I personally loved the movie, but can respect those that didn't care for it. I imagine "Only God Forgives" will be at least as divisive as "Drive" was, if not more so.
I think it's hilarious it seems now whenever there's an article about this, or something related to "Drive", someone inevitably asks the question "Am I the only one". No, you're not. I personally loved the movie, but can respect those that didn't care for it. I imagine "Only God Forgives" will be at least as divisive as "Drive" was, if not more so.
8:16AM on 05/26/2013
I am with you, it was ok, but not as great as peoplle made it out to be, same for Warrior, great acting weak story
I am with you, it was ok, but not as great as peoplle made it out to be, same for Warrior, great acting weak story
6:56PM on 05/24/2013

I'm gonna go ahead and trust the filmaker on this one...

Boo'ed or not. I've enjoyed everything this guys put on film so far so I'm gonna say that if he's happy with it then I'll probably like it. Plus critics be damned. Pretty much everything in anyones top 10 movies ever made list we're panned on initial release. So if someones NOT booing then it's probably not worth your attention.
Boo'ed or not. I've enjoyed everything this guys put on film so far so I'm gonna say that if he's happy with it then I'll probably like it. Plus critics be damned. Pretty much everything in anyones top 10 movies ever made list we're panned on initial release. So if someones NOT booing then it's probably not worth your attention.
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6:52PM on 05/24/2013
Thats the best answer anyone in that position could give I think
Thats the best answer anyone in that position could give I think
Your Reply:



6:50PM on 05/24/2013

Ya sooo..

This movie is goin to be the shit :) Drive was a brilliant film.
This movie is goin to be the shit :) Drive was a brilliant film.
Your Reply: