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The director’s new venture is a quarterly curated website which will officially launch online in February. The diverse range of content will include a fully restored feature-length film streaming online each month, as well as essays, music, video, photography and other “cultural ephemera.” Access to the platform will be completely free.
Refn unveiled the platform during a press conference Monday at the Institut Lumiere, which is headed up by Cannes topper Thierry Fremaux. “I thought it was intriguing to come to the place where cinema was born,” the helmer explained. “And now we can bury it in order to give it a rebirth.”
Described by Refn as “an unadulterated cultural expressway of the arts” that will “create a modern idea of what cinema will become,” the platform will feature a newly curated series each quarter. The first volume will highlight exploitation works from the American South and will be guest edited by Russ Meyer biographer and journalist Jimmy McDonough, who previously collaborated with Refn on the movie poster book The Art of Seeing.
Content for Volume 1 will include a restored version of the extremely rare 1965 cult film The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds — which Refn described as “like a John Waters movie without John Waters” — along with Joseph P. Mawra’s Shanty Tramp (1967) and a feature about Texas sexploitation director Dale Berry (Hot Blooded Woman, Hip Hot and 21).
Refn explained how he paid for the restoration of Cuckoo Birds, which was done in collaboration with the Harvard Film Archive, out of money he made “from directing commercials we don’t want to watch.” He insists that all content on byNRW.com will remain free because in the future “all entertainment will be free.”
The second volume of the platform will be guest edited by the British film magazine Little White Lies and dedicated to forgotten works of American independent cinema, including a newly restored version of director Curtis Harrington’s 1963 avant-garde classic Night Tide, starring Dennis Hopper, and a screening of the rarely seen 1967 Appalachian chronicle Spring Night, Summer Night.
Refn said Harrington’s film is “one of the major counter-cultural movies that started the Hollywood New Wave before it became chic,” and that after meeting the director prior to his death, he vowed to pay for the film’s 4K restoration so that it could be seen by a wider audience.
Refn presented his new platform along with a double bill of the restored Night Tide and Cuckoo Birds to an audience at the Lumiere festival, which runs through Sunday and is dedicated to screening film classics from around the world.
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Sir Anthony Hopkins