Nicolas Winding Refn (Danish: [ˈne̝kolɑs ˈve̝nte̝ŋ ˈʁæfn̩]; born 29 September 1970) is a Danish film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is known for directing the Pusher trilogy (1996–2005), the fictionalised biographical film Bronson (2008), the adventure film Valhalla Rising (2009), the action drama film Drive (2011), the crime film Only God Forgives (2013), the psychological horror film The Neon Demon (2016), and the crime series Too Old to Die Young (2019).[1] In 2008, Refn co-founded the Copenhagen-based production company Space Rocket Nation.[2]

Refn has said numerous times that his largest cinematic influence has been the director Alejandro Jodorowsky (to whom Refn has dedicated "Only God Forgives"),[50] of whom he has said:

Jodorowsky the last couple years in Paris and we’d become quite close. Before we’d have dinner, we’d always have a tarot reading and talk about what it means. I feel that as a filmmaker, he’s the last of the great giants of an era that’s coming to a close. A year ago, he baptized me as his spiritual son and I wanted to reward that gesture."[51]

He stated that for his first film Pusher, he stole everything from Gillo Pontecorvo's 1965 Oscar-nominated The Battle of Algiers and the 1980 Italian horror movie Cannibal Holocaust.[52] Also influential to his movie viewing experience were Cassavetes' 1976 film The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Kevin Smith's 1994 indie classic Clerks.[49]

Refn is married to actress Liv Corfixen,[53] with whom he has two daughters.[54]

After making the movie Fear X, Refn was heavily in debt. The story of Refn's recovery is recorded in the documentary Gambler, directed by Phie Ambo.[55]

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At the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Refn said that he was repulsed by the controversial remarks by Lars von Trier, calling them unacceptable.[56]

Refn's wife, Liv Corfixen, wrote and directed a documentary entitled My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, which chronicles the "behind the scenes" experience of shooting Only God Forgives when the entire family had to be relocated to Thailand. The documentary has received positive reviews after premiering at Fantastic Fest and Beyond Fest.[57] The soundtrack for the documentary is also composed entirely by Cliff Martinez, with the last track "Disconnected" composed, written and sung by Julian Winding, Refn's nephew.[58]