The Neon Demon

Provocateur Nicolas Winding Refn is back with “The Neon Demon”

The divisive, Danish-born auteur's latest provocation is set in the glamorous, dangerous world of high fashion models.

“Great cinema is really all about what you don’t see.”

Director Nicolas Winding Refn told me this last year when I interviewed him for the release of The Act Of Seeing, a collection of more than 300 posters, curated by Refn, of exploitation rarities, mostly from the ’60s and ’70s, all featured in a heavy, gorgeously-rendered hardcover tome. Or as he gleefully admits, “a very expensive book, but about trash.”

His love of artsy trash cinema and subliminal imagery continues with “The Neon Demon,” a new film that could fit right alongside the aged, forgotten titles from his book. Elle Fanning stars as an aspiring model who moves to Los Angeles, where her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has. The film, though it was initially touted as his first real foray into horror, is, of course, anything but a traditional entry in the genre. “Don’t believe everything you read. Traditional… come on man. My films are like Christmas, you can’t wait to open it,” he elaborated. “And one thing’s for sure, what you expect I’m not going to give you. That’s what makes life so much more fun.”


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