Description image

Nicolas Winding Refn on Directing 'Drive'

12.12.11 @ 4:08PM Tags : , ,

Given I just closed down comments on a post about camera technology, I felt the need to post something about movies — writing, directing, anything other than cameras! I don’t think anyone would deny that Drive was one of the year’s most distinctive films, and so here’s a video interview with director Nicolas Winding Refn that was just posted by DP/30:

I like watching interviews, special features on DVDs, or anything of this nature that I stumble across, so I thought I’d post it here. Let me know in the comments — more of this kind of thing?

Of course, given Drive came out in September, there are plenty of interviews with Winding Refn out there, and one of my favorites is from Filmmaker Magazine (link below), wherein Refn riffs on directing:

What’s interesting about this whole thing is [this]: a director doesn’t have to be an expert in anything, but he has to know a little bit about everything. That “everything” includes financing and global economics, directing actors, setting up camera and lighting, reading cost reports, moving money around — every little thing you need to know a little bit about.

Link: NICOLAS WINDING REFN, “DRIVE” – Filmmaker Magazine


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 26 COMMENTS

  • Great interview. Yes, please, more of these!

  • I love this youtube channel. Great interviews with great actors, directors, editors and so on. And drive was definitly oen of the best movies of this year

  • I’m with you on these types of articles. I feel like I learn more and gain a far better understanding of the craft from director commentaries on DVDs than I ever did in college.

  • Rev. Benjamin on 12.12.11 @ 5:29PM

    No! More camera arguing! :-) Great video.

  • What a breath of fresh air! Thanks for sharing. Drive was awesome as well.

  • Thanks Koo! More posts like these please. Insightful and inspiring!

  • This is a great segue from the ‘Bloonard’ [said with French accent] debacle. Drive is a beautiful looking film and technically almost perfect but… one of the worse films I have seen this year. The characters were one dimensional and the story a complete disaster full of cliches. It was as if the director, who doesn’t have a driving license, had a story board full of cool shots and then wrote the story around them.

    My seventy year old dad would say it’s a film of ‘looks’.

    This film is the end game of the technology arguments of the last couple of days. It has stunning imagery but says nothing and makes you feel nothing.

  • My first comment on NFS: yes, more “stuff like this” would rule. I appreciate everything else that you post as well.

    Thanks, Ryan.

  • I’m with Nigel. A great looking film with a not so good story, trying to be european and mostly ruined by the music. The constant music is so annoying. Just like the movie Contraluz (Backlight) from the portuguese director Fernando Fragata

  • I’ll have to check out the film when I can. I keep on hearing that it’s visually stunning and thats enough to pull me in since I’m studying to be a DP.

  • well let me tell you, that film made me feel like i was high on acid for nearly 2 hours, an amazing experience, the last film that made me feel like that was the matrix, 12 years ago. films like these are rare, cherish them. its the artsy european version of transporter, only with a million times more substance. the driver, by NOT saying anything, he was telling the audience a lot. i watched it in the theatre and the audience was really captivated.

    watch this film if you wanna see how a real film is made. a wonderful collaboration between all the members of the filmmaking process that results in a masterpiece.

  • Filmmaking talking is soooo technology focused in theses times.. especially on the web. It’s not like cinema never been a domain of gadgets and techno stuffs but, seriously there’s way too much attention given on theses stuffs.
    Debate on the c300 or Scarlett or F3, really? Can we get over it? Cinematography is such a vast and richfull subject and i think, simply listening to a director talking about his job is way more instructive than watching a side by side review of two cameras…

    It’s really refreshing to see that kind of material Koo, and i hope you will post more of theses :)

  • Will Gilbey on 12.13.11 @ 2:30AM

    Has anyone managed to see the documentary The Gambler? It’s on the American Pusher trilogy DVD – it’s about Refn going bankrupt and making Pusher 2 and 3 to get himself out of his financial hole (loved all the Pusher movies). Sadly It’s not on the British DVD and my Blu-ray player isn’t multi-region. Drive is up there as one of my favorite film of the year.


  • To those who said this movie was filled with cliche and one of the worst films of the year…’re entitled to your own oppinion but here is my rebuttal…

    I found that Drive was so far from cliche and that is likely why so many people were divided on the film, they either loved it or hated it. I think it was that lack of cliche that made it such a different kind of film, a film like Bullit or Heat (two major influences on this film) films that are underappreciated for their story and acting. Gosling gave a haunting performance and even I know, as someone who is just beginning to put together his first short film, that SILENCE is the loudest thing you can put in a film. When there is silence, that is all you hear. You hear nothing else. and the use of this in this film was outstanding.

    As for the one that said the music ruined the film, please do yourself a favor and listen to Jeff Goldsmiths podcast where he interviews Refn and you will learn that Gosling used to drive Refn around in a car at night listening to pop songs and Refn says that this is where the whole concept of the film was born. The songs didn’t ruin this film, they created this film.

    • I believe your talking to me so I’ll responde.

      Maybe I didn’t explained myself right and for that I’m sorry.

      The pop songs – great
      The annoying sound that filled all the silence – rubbish

      Silence is supposed to be silent, it’s not supposed to be filled with any kind of sound.

      That’s why I said that it tries to be European, but I’m sorry to say (and I’m not insulting anyone) the american audience wouldn’t appreciate it and the sells would be slower. The european and the U.S. and asian etc. audience is different from one and other. And I think that is great. It’s one of the reasons why their cinema is different from one and other. When I’m going to see an european movie I know what I’m going to see, the same happens when i see an american movie, etc. etc. etc.

      • Nicolas Winding Refn IS EUROPEAN. His sensibilities are the anchor of the film. How is a film “trying to be European”, if the director and screenwriter are both from Europe?

  • I know a bit of everything, not only in filmmaking and I always thought that was a major drawback: lack of focus.

  • Very Inspirational! Drive was one of my favorite movies of the year and getting to hear his story just added to my interest in him as a filmmaker. Its great to see directors as organic as Refn.

  • Loved Drive. The soundtrack sounded just like social network in some places but overall it was one of those movies that I was like damn I wish I had made that.

  • yes I will appreciate more of this…

  • Is its a bit harsh to say that the related posts aren’t actually related? Ace interview, ace website.