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Saturday, February 28, 2015


Liv Corfixen and Nicolas Winding Refn in MY LIFE DIRECTED BY NICOLAS WINDING REFN
Courtesy of RADiUS

2015, 60 minutes
Rated PG-13 for some violent and suggestive material

Review by Joshua Handler

My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn is currently playing an exclusive one-week run at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.  Saturday evening's screenings include a Q&A with Corfixen and Refn and an introduction by Corfixen and Refn.  The film is also available on VOD.

Liv Corfixen's My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn is a brief, but illuminating documentary that Corfixen filmed while her husband, Nicolas Winding Refn, was directing Only God Forgives, his Thailand-set 2013 thriller starring Ryan Gosling.  While this film is ultimately far too short, it is ridiculously entertaining and a fascinating look into what happens behind the scenes on a film set.  Yes, we've all seen making-of documentaries before, but it never hurts to see another one with a subject like Refn, especially when it opens with legendary director Alejandro Jodorowsky reading tarot cards for Refn.

After the massive acclaim and Cannes Best Director win for Drive, there was enormous pressure on Refn to follow it up with something great.  So, he decided to go to Thailand with Ryan Gosling and shoot Only God Forgives, a film that turned out to be, as Corfixen predicted, a very polarizing piece of work.  Corfixen decided to take their two children out of school for the six months that Refn needed to be in Thailand for the shoot because the separation was too hard on them during the Drive shoot.

While My Life Direcred by Nicolas Winding Refn is essentially a home movie that received a theatrical release, that's much of the reason why the film is worth seeing.  Because this is a home movie, it's an intimate and not-always-flattering portrait of the famed director.  No matter how many times we've seen a film like this, it's always humbling to see a director struggle through his own film shoot.  On the set of Only God Forgives, Refn has his fair share of doubts.  The experience of shooting and editing the film had Refn and Corfixen on an emotional roller coaster, as the stressful, sleepless six-month-long stay in Thailand took a toll on their relationship.

Overall, My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn is a must-see for cinephiles, aspiring filmmakers, and anyone who has seen Only God Forgives.  Even if you hate Only God Forgives, this will be an enlightening watch, as it gives much of that film perspective.  Again, My Life should've been longer and documented more on-set crises that occurred (Corfixen tells Refn that she wishes he would let her film more of these), but as it is, it is a perfectly enjoyable bite-size piece of cinema.


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