Filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn will always be divisive yet I don’t think he minds. He loves to shirk off what you expect from him, which can be agitating to people that latch onto one or two of his films and think they know what they are getting when they see his latest film. The most recent example of this is Only God Forgives, which was Refn’s follow-up collaboration with Ryan Gosling after the critically and commercially successful Drive. A new documentary called My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn is from Refn’s wife, Liv Corfixen, and follows the struggles to get the film made and how arduous his process is. It’s a documentary that truly puts you in the heart of the filmmaking process and what it takes to balance being a director on set and having your family live with you for six months on location in Bangkok. What becomes clear throughout the 58-minute documentary is how much that balance takes a toll on everyone.
As enlightening as it is about Refn’s process and how he freewheels at times because of the freeing nature of shooting in chronological order, My Life Directed is a film that really nails his relationship with Corfixen and how that bond needs attention even when everyone else needs it as well. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Refn and Corfixen to talk about the world premiere of the film at Fantastic Fest and we hit on some interesting details. During our chat we touched on why the film is only 58 minutes long and whether there was any intention to extend it, whether Refn believes he should have won the Palme d’Or, why he switched from composer Peter Peter to working with Cliff Martinez, how they had little boosts of money that helped get the film made, why the film is just now coming out instead of closer to Only God Forgives‘ release, whether Refn ever wanted to stop being filmed, the commercial prospects of an hour long documentary, and much more. For the full interview, hit the jump.