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Refn’s latest serial craze is a sadistic and magnetic artist provocation

At the close of Venice 79 was presented Out of Competition Copenhagen Cowboythe new madness of the danish director Nicolas Winding Refn: a black series in six episodes which tells the story of a young …

At the close of Venice 79 was presented Out of Competition Copenhagen Cowboythe new madness of the danish director Nicolas Winding Refn: a black series in six episodes which tells the story of a young and enigmatic heroine, miuplayed by actress Angela Bundanovic. After a life of servitude, on the threshold of a new beginning, he wanders into dark landscape of the criminal world of Copenhagen, finding refuge in keeper of a brothel with an adjoining pigsty. Seeking justice and revenge, Miu encounters her nemesis, Rakeland together they undertake an odyssey between the natural and the supernatural. Eventually, the past transforms and defines their future and the two women discover that they are not alone, but are many, all in one. The Danish criminal hell also populated by Chinese, Serbo-Albanian and Arab mafias.

After Too old to die youngmade for Amazon, the filmmaker of Conduct And Only God forgives returns to the world of seriality, this time for Netflix, with a very original and destabilizing project: a kind of time bomb posed at the heart of contemporary serialityaiming to rock the audience with something new and never seen before, crumbling all expectations and comfort zone. Copenhagen Cowboy was born from my revolutionary vision and at the same time seeks to seduce and entertain the senses. It is designed to stimulate the mind, eyes, tongue, heart and soulsaid Refn about the series, made in Denmark and whose work began with the arrival of the pandemic, when the author was forced to stay in his native country and put on hold some American projects he had under construction.

Copenhagen Cowboy

The lead actress is another of Refn’s most cherished alter egos, practically inheriting the scepter of the various Bronsons (Tom Hardy) in BronsonOne Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) in Rise of ValhallaDriver (Ryan Gosling) in ConductLieutenant (Vithaya Pansringarm) at Only God forgivesJesse (Elle Fanning) in The neon demon and the many characters of the show Too old to die young. Its name is inspired by the fashion house miu miu band Pradawith whom a collaboration is underway that has led Refn to live in Milan to devote himself to various projects, while the physical connotation of the character is very different from the others of Refn, with a much more marked feminine fragility and a face that makes her looks like some kind of skinny little bird in a cage, but only seemingly defenseless.

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During a press conference in Venice, Refn described his way of working and how it has evolved: “Things depend a lot on the mood in the morning: a horror can become sci-fi with a domestic tone, especially when I get along with my children, and translate into suspense in the afternoon. I like to create this spontaneous flow of reactions that attract me. Social media, which is perhaps the future version of cinema, relies on the heterogeneity of elements, which is also artistically stimulating. I like destroying royalties“.

And he destroyed them and how Refn in Copenhagen Cowboywhich is in perfect continuity with all the past works of the director, even with his very first films, but seems to disintegrate them and pulverize them one by one in an increasingly dilated audiovisual flowas if the denial of his past was the only way to die and be reborn as an artist and how Mark (the now famous and recognizable signature at the bottom by NWR). Refn now seems to have definitely crossed the boundaries of cinema and seriality, to achieve something frighteningly close to the perversion of contemporary artto the installation of the gallery, to the provocation of author who sifts the manure – without any fear or self-censorship – in search of an obscene form of transcendence of the image.

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Photo: Getty (Stefania D’Alessandro/WireImage)

Male castration and relative impotenceone of the key themes of his cinema, is no longer even a metaphor, a subtext, the objective correlative of a disrupted symbolic order: brazenly and shamelessly exposed from the dialogueswhich are simple pieces of furniture a gendered operation populated by witches and ghosts, troubled and motleywhich takes each narrative development in counter-time, without fear of being at the same time perverse and romantic in the exhibition of a casual and weightless violence.

For nostalgics and widows of the first Refn, it is clear that Copenhagen Cowboy can leave speechless and be rejected, perhaps even in the trunk, with the risk of being taken for an exhausting and endless fashion advertisement. It is, however, a very strong claim of discontinuity in relation to all that is seen and found around todayespecially on the small screen, because no one like Refn seems to have the courage to expose his nudity as an artist in the presence of his own demons and tormentsdisplaying them with a rhythmic and extremely calibrated style of 360° panoramas (but also the split screen with living pictures in motion and the crossfade of Copenhagen Cowboy are in uppercase) and he doesn’t care about being exhausting and irritating.

I don’t understand why mass entertainment has to be so fast– Refn explained at a press conference – in a museum you may stand for an hour in front of a painting, even music and books can be enjoyed at different speeds, the same thing happens when we communicate with our children to learn, when entertainment should always be frantic. Time, on the other hand, is important, when we find ourselves in front of something, we ask that it give us something in return, not simply that it repeats what many others are already doing. This series is for me like the origin story of a superhero, discovering an alien race living on Earth.

Like it or not, Refn has earned status on the pitch definitive and irreversible provocateur and his art expands more and more in the repression of images, in vacuum tire that stands behind the surfacein hallucinatory urges more sadistic than human beingspresented as a very slow dance of bodies filmed as panting fish in strictly neon aquarium. Sexuality is everywhere, because what is invoked is above all a carnal and sensual relationship of the spectator to the images, but there is no trace of actual sex: while Copenhagen Cowboy silent, muffled, stripped of pathos and desire, gently mortified. I find that there is also something erotic in the term cowboy, as well as referring to the western, and I liked to combine these two terms which have a sexual connotation to better reach young people”Refn told the Lido.

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In the cast of Copenhagen Cowboy, in addition to Zlatko Buricunforgettable interpreter of trilogy Pusheralso his the wife (Liv Corfixen) and his the girl (Lola Corfixen), proving how much Refn also likes to evolve in an artisanal dimension of factory familiar:I also like to include my family because it inspires me. Liv was my first girlfriend and then she became my wife, so I strengthened our relationship on a daily basis. When I’m making a movie, I get pretty sadistic towards people, but because somehow I’m absorbed in my work. At home I’m dominated by women, my wife and my daughters, who control my life, so I’m very submissive at home and quite sadistic at work.”.

Photo: Victor Boyko/Getty Images for Netflix

Picture: Netflix

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