Read Nicolas Winding Refn’s Full Director’s Statement & See New Stills for ‘Only God Forgives’

"The original concept for the film was to make a movie about a man who wants to fight God," says Nicholas Winding Refn in the director’s statement for his upcoming thriller Only God Forgives. "That is, of course, a very vast obstacle but when I was writing the film, I was going through some very existential times in my life – we were expecting our second child and it was a difficult pregnancy – and the idea of having a character who wants to fight God without knowing why very much appealed to me."

And with the film’s premiere at Cannes this month and the theatrical release this July, we’ve already received an influx of promotional materials for the feature—from multiple trailers and stills, to a full track listing of the original soundtrack by Cliff Martinez. But the most valuable information on the Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas-led Thai boxing picture comes from Refn’s own musing on the project. We can speculate all we want on the stylized violence and sensational performances that have become a staple of Refn’s work but with this full statement, we get a closer look into the mind of one of modern cinema’s biggest heroes. 

He goes onto compare the character of Chang from the film to One Eye in his 2007 feature Valhalla Rising and the Driver in Drive, saying that they’re all "rooted in fairytale mythology and have difficulties living in the everyday world. I can see that technically, there is a resemblance in their stoic behavior, silence, and fetishistic portraits even though they live in different times and are portrayed by different actors." And with the similar thread in his last three works, Refn notes that:

Only God Forgives is like an accumulation of all the films I’ve made so far. I think I was heading toward a creative collision, full speed ahead, in order to change everything around me and to see what would come after. I have always said that I set out to make films about women but I end up making films about violent men. Now that everything is colliding, it may end up turning things upside-down for me. 

So with these thoughts in mind, there’s also a batch of new stills from the Bangkok-set film to feast your senses on. For the full statement head HERE and in case you haven’t been keeping an eye on this one, see HERE, HERE, and HERE for more on one of our most anticipated films of the year.

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Check Out ‘Only God Forgives’ Soundtrack Details and Full Track List From Cliff Martinez

Not only was Cliff Martinez’s score for Drive beautiful and Brian Eno-esque, but it elevated the story to another dimension. It enhanced the way in which Nicolas Winding Refn’s cinematic use of physical space and the silence between its characters could be filled with emotion. It wasn’t manipulative, but a guiding force that strapped us into Drive‘s hero story and spoke for the moments its silent and stoic figures could not. Yet it also made moments tingle, casting a glow on the darkness, and giving the violence the potency it needed to transcend mere aggression.

And after such a collaboration, it makes perfect sense that Martinez has taken on the task of scoring Refn’s latest film, Only God Forgives. The Ryan Gosling-led Thai boxing thriller is slated to premiere at Cannes this month and just in time, Film Music Reporter has the full track listing for the film. Set to be released by Milan records, the soundtrack is almost entirely Martinez—save his collaborator Gregory Tripi. And unless there’s anything missing from this list, it doesn’t appear there will be a future sensation a la "A Real Hero" or "Under Your Spell" to come out of this soundtrack. Remember the first time you saw Drive and "Nightcall" started playing? Even if you loved the song before, it never sounded so perfect.

Alas, check out the track listing below and let’s just keep listening to the PROUD’s "You Are My Dream" from the trailer—a song that at first glance sounds uplifting and sweet, but has the after taste of something evil.

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1. Only God Forgives – Cliff Martinez Feat. Gregory Tripi
2. Ask Him Why He Killed My Brother – Cliff Martinez Feat. Gregory Tripi
3. Chang and Sword – Cliff Martinez
4. Chang Vision – Cliff Martinez Feat. Gregory Tripi
5. Do As Thou Will – Cliff Martinez
6. Can’t Forget – Cliff Martinez Feat. Mac Quayle and Vithaya Pansringarm
7. Crystal Checking In – Cliff Martinez Feat. Gregory Tripi
8. More Hands – Cliff Martinez
9. Sister Part 1 – Cliff Martinez Feat. Gregory Tripi
10. Take It Off – Cliff Martinez Feat. Mac Quayle
11. Leave My Son In Peace – Cliff Martinez Feat. Gregory Tripi and Mac Quayle
12. Falling In Love – Cliff Martinez Feat. Gregory Tripi and Ratha Phongam
13. Crystal and the Bodybuilders – Cliff Martinez
14. Ladies Close Your Eyes – Cliff Martinez Feat. Gregory Tripi
15. Bride of Chang – Cliff Martinez Feat. Mac Quayle
16. Wanna Fight – Cliff Martinez
17. You Are My Dream – Proud

Watch Nicolas Winding Refn & Ryan Gosling Talk Sex and Violence With ‘Only God Forgives’

"Violence is like sex," explains Nicolas Winding Refn in a new behind-the-scenes clip from Only God Forgives, "it’s all about the build up." So yes, although I have admonished the viewing of any behind the scenes featurette pre-actually seeing the film—this a one-minute delight you cannot miss. The video shows Refn giving his favorite dude, Ryan Gosling a character talk, telling him that "the sexuality of violence is that the more you’re more engaged in the build up, compared to the actual act itself," and so on.

We also get some shirtless Gosling boxing, and Refn doling out more directorial cues: "now to make it dirty, you need interesting, never seen before violent," whilst clad in his signature plaid on-set wrap. And to be honest, I could watch an entire feature film of just Gosling and Refn hanging out—Gos doesn’t even talk, Refn rambles and the former just makes stoic faces at the camera before bursting into fits of laughter. Their relationship has always been a joy to watch and since first meeting awkwardly before Drive, they’ve formed one of the most symbiotic and perfetly-matched working relationships in film.

In speaking with Little White Lies last year, Refn spoke of his beloved actor saying:

Well, while we were shooting Drive, Ryan and I were talking about what we should do next, because we really enjoyed each other’s company and collaboration and just hanging out together… It was a great team spirit. I… I mean… I love him. And I don’t love him in the Hollywood way where everyone loves everybody, I mean I really love him. My wife loves him… He loves my wife… I love his mother… So we’re very similar in many aspects of our sensibilities, we have different upbringings but we gravitate towards the same things. And of course he was the one who gave me the opportunity to make a film in Hollywood the way I would like to make one, which probably would never have happened otherwise. 

Check out the clip HERE.

Enjoy Three New Clips From Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Only God Forgives’

Three years ago, when I interviewed Nicolas Winding Refn, he told me that yes, he would be making a Bangkok-set set thriller, but not before going to Los Angeles to make a movie called Drive with Ryan Gosling. And it’s been quite a while since, but after developing a wonderfully symbiotic and fruitful relationship in the process of creating that film, Gosling and Refn are back together again for the highly-anticipated Only God Forgives.

From the moment the credits rolled on Drive, I have been counting down to their next film—and although we’ve seen trailers, posters, and stills thus far, there are now six-minutes worth of clips from the film to watch, amping up your excitement even more. Unfortunately, the Thai-boxing thriller will not be hitting theaters until late July, so you’ll have to quell your desire for bit more time.

Watching the previews, I’m already in love. Refn’s signature use of saturated high colors, his keen sense of music as psychological device, and the affinity for stylized violent drama, is clearly all there and this looks to take the aesthetic that seemed to be solidified with Drive to an even higher level. Personally, I won’t be watching these clips for fear of spoiling anything for myself—I want the first time I see the film to be completely immersive and to hit me straight on. However, if watching these gorgeous snippets won’t tarnish a second of the film as whole for you, enjoy below.

Check Out New Photos and Trailers for Some of Cannes Most Anticipated Films

Yesterday, the Cannes Film Festival line-up was officially announced, and this year’s slate looks to be filled with some pretty incredible premieres from Roman Polanski’s Venus in Furs to James Franco’s As I Lay Dying to the latest from the Coen Brothers and Sofia Coppola. But the film at the top of my list is Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow-up to 2011’s Drive, the visually-stuninng Thai boxing thriller Only God Forgives, which will will re-team him with his leading man Ryan Gosling. Watch the new international trailer that premiered yesterday HERE.

Another one sure to be a heavy-hitter is James Gray’s The Immigrant. Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard, less is known about the feature but the story will apparently "chronicle the journey of a Polish immigrant (Cotillard) who becomes caught in a triangle between a cabaret owner/pimp (Phoenix) and a magician who wants to save her (Jeremy Renner)." Also, today, Fracois Ozon’s wonderful new drama In the House begins its theatrical run, but his next film, has already been completed and is heading to Cannes in May as well—titled Jeune & Jole (Young and Beautiful) which stars Charlotte Rampling and Marine Vacth.

And now, we’ve got two new photos from Only God Forgives behind the scenes, the first shot from The Immigrant, and the trailer for Jeune & Jolie (unfortunately sans subtitles). So take a look and start getting excited for a year of great release.

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Ryan Gosling, James Franco, & Roman Polanski Head to Cannes With This Year’s 2013 Line-Up

After months of speculation and close watch as to who would be heading to France come May, an official list has finally arrived. This morning, the line-up for this year’s Cannes Film Festival was revealed and yes, we expected as much from some of the selection, but the roster isn’t without a few very welcome surprises. As we’ve known for some time now, Baz Luhrmann’s grand adpatation of The Great Gatsby will be providing a dramatic and lavish opening to the festival with begins May 15th.

And with anticipation for Nicolas Winding Refn’s stunning thriller Only God Forgives, we were pleased to see that it would be entering the festival in competition alongside the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llwelyn Davis, Roman Polanski’s Venus in Furs, and Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, and Alexander Payne’s Nebraska—just to name a sampling of the selection.

Previously in the month, we learned that Sofia Coppola’s teen fashion heist film, The Bling Ring, would be entering the Un Certain Regard at the festival but now we learn that not only will she be joined by Clare Denis’ The Bastards and Fruitvale, or newly, Fruitvale Station, but James Franco’s As I Lay Dying will be making its way into the category as well. Personally, that came as the biggest surprise for me, not realizing that the film had even gone into post-production—silly me, as if Franco wouldn’t forego sleep for years just to finish something before Cannes!

Anyhow, check out the rest of the list below and get excited to see more pictures like the one above on the red carpet next month.

Opening film (out of competition): The Great Gatsby,  Baz Luhrmann
Closing film: Zulu, Jérôme Salle
 
Competition:
Only God Forgives, Nicolas Winding Refn
Borgman, Alex Van Warmerdam
La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty), Paolo Sorrentino
Behind The Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh
La Venus à la fourrure (Venus in Fur), Roman Polanski
Nebraska,  Alexander Payne
Jeune et jolie, François Ozon
Wara No Tate (Shield of Straw), Takashi Miike
La vie d’Adèle, Abdellatif Kechiche
Soshite Chich Ni Naru (Like Father, Like Son), Hirokazu Kore-eda
Tian Zhy Ding, Zhangke Jia
Grisgris, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
The Immigrant, James Gray
Le Passé, Asghar Farhadi
Heli, Amat Escalante
Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian), Arnaud Desplechin
Michael Kohlhaas, Arnaud Despallières
Inside Llewyn Davis, Ethan & Joel Coen
Un Château en Italie, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi
 
Out of competition:
All Is Lost, J.C Chandor
Blood Ties, Guillaume Canet
 
Special screenings:
Otdat Konci, Taisia Igumentseva
Seduced and Abandoned, James Toback
Week of a Champion, Roman Polanski
Stop the Pounding Heart, Roberto Minervini
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, Stephen Frears
Max Rose, Daniel Noa
 
Midnight screenings:
Blind Detective, Johnnie To
Monsoon Shootout,  Amit Kumar
 
Un Certain Regard:
Grand Central, Rebecca Zlotowski
Sarah préfère la course, Chloé Robichaud
Anonymous, Mohammad Rasoulof
La jaula de oro, Diego Quemada-Díez
L’image manquante, Rithy Panh
Bends, Flora Lau
The Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola
L’inconnu du lac, Alain Guiraudie
Miele, Valeria Golino
As I lay dying, James Franco
Norte, Hangganan ng kasaysayan, Lav Diaz
Les salauds, Claire Denis
Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler
Death March, Adolfo Alix Jr.
Omar, Hany Abu-Assad

Watch the New International Trailer for Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Only God Forgives’

Yesterday, we were delighted to see a new teaser poster for Nicolas Winding Refn’s highly-stylized and visceral Thai boxing thriller Only God Forgives. And after it was officially announced this morning that the film would be heading to Cannes in May, we have been graced with a new international trailer for the film. This one gives us a deeper look into the narrative, focusing less that hair-raising sense of thrill and more on dipping us slowly into this Gosling-led and neon-drenched world.

But although Gos leads the pack of here, it’s the stunning and fierce Kristin Scott Thomas that also shines in this new cut, highlighting her role as the matriarch of the film’s drug empire. And if anyone has seen her recently in Francis Ozon’s In the House in comparison with the looks of this—it’s evident that this woman can transform into any role with ease. But with his sense of smoothe and smart choreography in juxtaposition to violence and overall tone, Refn’s work is beginning to remind me of RW Fassbinder meets old school Eastern gangster movies but through the lens of a kaleidoscope as if just struck with a swift blow to the head—and I’m not complaining. So with this new look, we see a bit more of Gosling’s character seeking revenge for the death of his brother, although sans musical cues from  “Tur Kue Kwam Fun.”

See for yourself below and start gearing up for the film’s release on July 19th.

ONLY GOD FORGIVES – Bande Annonce VOSTF – En salles le 22 mai from LE PUBLIC SYSTEME CINEMA on Vimeo.

 

Feast Your Eyes on the New Teaser Poster for Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Only God Forgives’

Nicolas Winding Refn’s highly-anticipated Drive follow-up Only God Forgives finally hits theaters this summer. And now that we already have an incredibly rich, visceral, and wonderful red band trailer, a teaser poster for the film has been released as well. And in true Refn style, it’s a neon-lit and visually intriguing poster that may be sans Ryan Gosling fighting in a suit, but packs enough punch to thrill. "It’s Time to Meet the Devil" marks the poster for the film that follows:

Julian (Gosling) lives in exile in Bangkok where he runs a Thai boxing club as a front for the family’s drugs smuggling operation. When Julian’s brother Billy is killed their mother, Jenna (Kristen Scott Thomas), arrives in the city. She wants revenge and forces Julian to find the killer. Julian’s contacts in the criminal underworld lead him directly to The Angel of Vengeance, a retired police officer who knows everything and who is both Judge and Punisher. Jenna demands that Julian kill The Angel of Vengeance, an act that will cost him dearly.

Check out the poster below and watch the trailer again..and again until the release July 19th.

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James Franco Loves ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ and Ryan Gosling, Obviously

Not only did Derek Cianfrance’s epic drama The Place Beyond the Pines premiere last week but the trailer for Nicolas Winding Refn’s Ryan Gosling-led thriller Only God Forgives was unveiled this week, and naturally, Gos love is in full effect. And who else to better express this sentiment than endless hyphenate James Franco. 

Yesterday, the Huffington Post published a Pines review from the man of many talents, which praises all the actors in the film, but focuses on the first portion of the triptych film—the Gos-centered section—which Franco claims, "he wants to make love to." Calling the picture, " a damn long film for what it is: an earnest character study done in a realistic style with a Shakespearian frame of sins of the fathers being handed down to the sons," he describes it as "part Cassavetes, part Dardenne brothers by way of The Wrestler"—which I can totally get down with. But in articulating his love for the beginning of the film, he also had some choice things to tell you about it. Here are some highlights:

…pay close attention to all of Gosling’s clothes in whatever he does, he is a master at evoking character through dress: The Drive Scorpion jacket; the Blue Valentine two-tone leather, I mean, come on giiiiiiirl; and here a red jacket, more nondescript than usual Gosling but still cool — and then the cigarette comes out, but we only know this from the smoke that rolls back over his shoulders; as he winds though the dinging rides and flashing booths he is crowned by the chintzy glamour of the multicolored lights, and this is just so right, because this is what the character is: the smoking, brooding carnival king who will ride his motorcycle like no other into the burning twilight of legend; but the shot doesn’t stop, he enters a buzzing tent just as he is announced by the ponytailed MC; he mounts his bike next to two other riders; the camera moves back and forth across his badass face, the first time we see it; he has a cross tattooed below his left eye and some erratic squiggly writing below his neck — still no cut — and then the three riders enter a porous metal sphere, and they’re off; is it Gosling in there riding loops with the other two? 

….This role is a mix between McQueen in The Getaway and some ’80s metal head kids I used to know at summer camp. Yes, please, more of this. Look at how he smokes; look at the other t-shirts he wears inside out; look at the holes! Look at how he dances with the little dog; look at the homoerotic relationship with his partner in crime. 

Wouldn’t be a Franco anything without a mention of homoeroticism, now would it?

The rest of the film is great, but the following two sections can’t hope to burn with the same intensity of the Gosling section, they’re not designed that way. It’s not the actors’ faults, it’s just that Gosling was cast as the shooting star, and he sucked up all the oxygen. I could watch that first section over and over and over and over. Because it portrays a character who is beautiful because he has a ticking clock around his neck, he’s every James Dean-style kid, every burning hot rock star, Lenny Bruce mother, who speaks with his motorcycle and his style: the intelligence of style and behavior. A behavioral and sartorial genius.

I also loved how he described Emory Cohen’s wonderful performance as, "some young goomba whose connection with his character is so tight it’s magical, like a Jersey Shore thug contextualized by serious circumstances so that his personality isn’t played for cheap MTV laughs but instead for the terror such brutish and reckless superficial personalities can inspire."

Check out the review in its entirety HERE.