Last week saw the cinematic release of Drive, with everyone’s favourite heartthrob Ryan Gosling playing a stuntman who moonlights as an underworld wheelman. Take note who is behind the camera though – director Nicholas Winding Refn was hand-picked by Gosling to direct the film, and for his work he was awarded Best Director at Cannes Film Festival this year.
This is a man so visionary he made a film about driving, despite failing his license test 8 times. He’s a film school drop-out, has turned down directorial offers from Lars Von Trier, and still somehow made some of the most influential pieces of cinema in the last two decades.
Nicholas Winding Refn’s career was launched in 1996, when he declined film school to create the gritty cult success (and first film ever about Danish gangsters), Pusher. Starring Mads Mikkelsen, and shot in chronological order, the film was a massive success in its homeland and throughout the world.
Refn’s research involved spending time in the seedy underworld of Copenhagen to inspire truly realistic stories, and he went on to write and direct Pusher II: With Blood On My Hands, and Pusher III: I’m The Angel of Death. They were widely acclaimed for their episodic structure and captivating stories, and you can see them over the next few days on World Movies (details below).
He also went on to create the brilliant Bronson, starring Tom Hardy, about a famous UK prisoner who spent nearly his entire adult life in solitary confinement. The last few years also saw him team back up with World Movies favourite Mads Mikkelsen, directing Valhalla Rising about a Norse warrior who finds himself in an unfamiliar land.
Don’t miss the earlier work of this sought-after young director. Check out two of the Pusher films on World Movies in the next week.
Pusher II: With Blood On My Hands screens tonight Thursday 3rd November at 11:55pm.
Pusher III: I’m The Angel of Death screens Monday 6th November at 2:00am.