Watch: How Does Nicolas Winding Refn’s Colorblindness Shape His Films?

Watch: How Does Nicolas Winding Refn’s Colorblindness Shape His Films?

Did I know Nicolas Winding Refn was colorblind? No, I did not. But having been thus educated, this little bit of information explains quite a lot about his work’s appeal. Looking at YouTube user Blue Leaf’s piece through this scrim, and given Refn’s own testimony that his colorblindness is what causes him to make all of his films with high color contrast, I begin to understand why films like ‘Bronson‘ or ‘Only God Forgives‘ have the visual appearance they do–and I also begin to understand something about their attitudes: the interest in extremes of morality, the clash of affection and intense violence, the silence versus the noise. Perhaps it’s an obvious point to make about a filmmaker who’s gotten more than his fair share of attention, criticism and fan-dom over the years, but re-investigating the point can’t hurt–and this piece is, at the very least, a thrilling watch.

WATCH: How Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Bronson’ Turns the Prison Movie Genre on Its Head

WATCH: How Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Bronson’ Turns the Prison Movie Genre on Its Head

Although the primary charge in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson derives from the electric performance of Tom Hardy, as one of Britain’s most violent criminals, the film builds on a number of sources. As this elegantly stated video essay by Jessie McGoff points out, directors from Jim Sheridan to Stanley Kubrick can be found inside this complex, alarming, surreal work. Refn, in this essayist’s estimation, rewrites the work of these ancestors, not so much exploiting them as putting a new face on them. And, in so doing, Refn updates our conception of the "prison film," a genre which one would think had run out of potential.