The IFI presents the Wanna Fight? Season from August 3rd-31st, a specially curated series of films to accompany the August 2nd release of the controversial and brutal new film by Nicolas Winding Refn Only God Forgives.
‘I’m a pornographer’ declared Nicolas Winding Refn in a recent interview ‘I make films about what arouses me. What I want to see. Very rarely to understand why I want to see it and I’ve learned not to become obsessed with that part of it’. Though the director of Pusher and Drive has always been an arch provocateur, his new film, the elegant and brutal Only God Forgives starring Ryan Gosling and Kristen Scott Thomas, has brought new levels of controversy with the film’s stylised violence becoming one of the major talking points of this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Yet Winding Refn’s films are never entirely cold or alienating and the heart of a true cineaste beats through his work. The IFI’s Wanna Fight? season is a selection of Winding Refn’s key influences and references, some directly acknowledged and some suggested. In particular the season contextualises Only God Forgives which audiences are invited to make their own minds up about when it is released at the IFI on August 2nd.
Winding Refn has been keen to invoke the names of other filmmakers in his work. Alejandro Jodorowsky’s name appears on the credits to both Drive and Only God Forgives, the genius filmmaker is represented here by the bizarre, beautiful and brilliant Santa Sangre. Also explicitly referenced by Winding Refn in relation to Only God Forgives is Gaspar Noé, a fellow provocateur, whose Enter the Void proved one of the most divisive of films released at the IFI in 2009. Winding Refn has namechecked Richard Kern, a key member of the 1980s NYC Cinema of Transgression Movement, and a selection of his short works characterised by extreme eroticism and disturbing violence are included in the season.
Other elements in the Wanna Fight? season are more thematic. Kristen Scott Thomas’s evil matriarch who encourages her son to do despicable things in Only God Forgives has a strong resonance with Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate. With Wong Kar Wai it’s more the richly coloured and textured look of his films such as Ashes of Time Redux that form the link to Winding Refn, while with the Pang Brothers Bangkok Dangerous it’s the terrific low-budget gun-play that warrants its inclusion.
Other highlights of the season include Seijun Suzuki’s Tokyo Drifter and David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. Oh, and if you’re only catching up with the violent swathe Winding Refn has cut through the world of film, there’s another chance to see 2011’s cool and casually gory Drive back on the big screen! Full details of all the films in the season and bookings will be available from early next week!
Wanna Fight? Season – Times and Dates in August:The Manchurian Candidate – John Frankenheimer – Aug 3rd 16.05 & Aug 5th 18.20Santa Sangre – Alejandro Jodorowsky – Aug 7th 20.30 & Aug 10th 13.30Ashes of Time Redux – Wong Kar Wai – August 13th 20.50Drive – Nicolas Winding Refn – Aug 14th 18.30Bangkok Dangerous – The Pang Brothers – Aug 21st 20.45Wild at Heart – David Lynch – Aug 25th 15.30 & Aug 26th 18.15Enter the Void – Gaspar Noé – Aug 28th 20.15 & Aug 31st 15.15Tokyo Drifter – Seijun Suzuki – Aug 29th 18.30 & Aug 31st 18.30Richard Kern Programme – Richard Kern – Aug 29th 20.30 & Aug 31st 13.15
The IFI is supported by The Arts Council