Nicolas Winding Refn
A bold and intriguing talent, Danish writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn called himself "a fetish filmmaker," stating that he chose his projects based on whether he would like to see them and felt strongly it was necessary for art to be extreme. Poetic and baffling in turns, his work was frequently punctuated by jarring bursts of violence, often amidst gritty, intense looks at criminal sub-cultures. Winding Refn's lead characters were invariably pushed past their breaking point by circumstances, but sometimes also reacted with surprising degrees of sincere human emotion. Always shooting in chronological order as a way of getting consistent performances from his actors, Winding Refn was open about his influences, which ranged from the cinema of Kenneth Anger, "Le Samourai" (1967), "Mean Streets" (1973) and "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (1974) to others more unexpected like the teen comedies of John Hughes. However, this was in keeping with the duality of a director who described his films as being "very feminine," even while they incorporated instances of cringe-inducing brutality. Presented with the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival for the mesmerizing, widely acclaimed thriller "Drive" (2011), Winding Refn was hailed as one of the most visionary directors of his generation, delivering the sort of dazzling creativity and risk taking that reinvigorates genres and take viewers on difficult, astonishing journeys.