Nicolas Winding Refn film season at HOME
The Danish director of Drive and Bronson has exclusively programmed a series of cult movies to screen at HOME, Manchester throughout July
Nicolas Winding Refn fans living in Manchester are in for a treat in July as multi-arts venue HOME screens a series of the maverick director’s favourite films throughout the month. The season, named NWR Presents, is specially selected by Refn to mark the release of his latest picture, The Neon Demon, on 6 Jul. The eclectic line-up takes in two underappreciated British films from the early 70s, a frenetic piece of Ozploitation and an influential space-set horror.
We’re proud to announce, though, that the season kicks off 6 Jul with a film selected by The Skinny: Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. We chose this bruising melodrama from 1973 to screen along with Refn’s selection because, like Refn’s The Neon Demon, it’s a berserk study in manipulation and desire set within the fashion world. The film follows a lesbian love triangle between a fashion designer, her assistant and her model as they scheme, argue and seduce. Fassbinder made over 40 productions in his too-short career before his early death in 1982. This one might be the best of the lot. (Join our Facebook page.)
Refn’s first pick is George Miller’s breakneck B-movie Mad Max (9 Jul), which imagines a future Australia where leather-clad gangs terrorise the highways in souped-up automobiles. One angry cop, the titular Max, turns vigilante to end the violence. What distinguishes Mad Max from the other cheapo Aussie exploitation movies of the 70s and 80s is director George Miller’s expressive and relentless filmmaking, which he clearly still has in abundance, as evident last year when Miller released Mad Max’s Oscar-nominated third sequel, Fury Road.
The programme also reveals Refn’s love for scuzzy British cinema of the early 70s. He’s chosen to screen two London-set films from this period. First there’s Peter Walker’s low-budget homage to the gangster thriller genre, Man of Violence (15 Jul). Then there’s Jerzy Skolimowski’s tragic coming-of-age tale Deep End (17 Jul) about a wide-eyed 15-year-old (John Moulder-Brown) becoming dangerously infatuated with his more experienced and sophisticated co-worker (Jane Asher) at a crumbling public swimming pool. Both films paint a vivid picture of Britain at the fag end of the swinging 60s.
Refn also screens Planet of the Vampires (16 Jul). The sci-fi horror, made on a shoestring in 1965 by Italian director Mario Bava, sees a spaceship answer a distress call from another on an uncharted planet, only for the crew to find themselves fighting off the craft's dead crew members when they start walking the planet as zombies. Like all Bava movies, it’s gloriously stylish. Reportedly it was a major influence on Ridley Scott’s Alien.
The season is rounded off with a special 35mm screening of one of Refn’s own film, Only God Forgives (20 Jul). When we interviewed Refn about the film back in 2013 he said: “I decided if Drive was really good cocaine, then Only God Forgives was going to be really fucking good acid.” If you’ve seen this Bangkok-set fever dream about a drug trafficker (Ryan Gosling) who’s sent on a mission by his icy mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) to avenge his older brother's death, you’ll know exactly what he means.
Referring to the above season, Refn said: “I like my films to shock, provoke and challenge. I am not a fan of complacency. All of the films I have selected for HOME are very distinct. They make you think. And feel. I hope you enjoy/endure them.”
The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (screened in association with The Skinny), Wed 6 Jul, 8.20pm
Mad Max, Sat 9 Jul, 4pm
Man of Violence, Fri 15 Jul, 8.30pm
Planet of the Vampires, Sat 16 Jul, 8.40pm
Deep End, Sun 17 Jul, 6pm
Only God Forgives, Wed 20 Jul, 8.40pm