‘Only God Forgives’ Director Responds to Boos of His Ryan Gosling Thriller

Cannes: Nicolas Winding Refn defends the heavily criticized film saying, "Art is meant to divide"

Last Updated: July 24, 2014 @ 12:38 PM

DIrector Nicolas Winding Refn defended his hyper-violent movie, "Only God Forgives," after it was booed at the Cannes Film Festival this week saying on Friday, "Art is meant to divide."

The critics, who ripped the film starring Ryan Gosling as "soullless," "suffocating," "pretentious" and "despicable," might not agree with that designation. 

Also read: Ryan Gosling's 'Only God Forgives': Critics Really, Really Hate the Crime Drama

Jada Yuan of Vulture interviewed Refn on Friday and asked about his reaction to the film's, um, passionate reception. Refn did not seem to find the response to be too distressing, or perhaps he is just being defensive.

Here is a snippet of the interview.

Yuan: I’m not sure if you’re aware, but at the press screening this morning, there was a smattering of boos and some walkouts.
Refn: Oh, cool.

Yuan: You’re excited about that?
Refn: I mean, how can I expect someone to not react like this when on one hand you are dropping what you do in everyone’s face and at the same time saying, “Love me, please,” you know? You’re going to get that. You know, great art – horrible thing to say – but art is meant to divide, because if it doesn’t divide, it doesn’t penetrate, and if it doesn’t penetrate, you just consume it.

Yuan: Any idea what they were booing about? Either it’s the violence or they thought it was too stylistic. I don’t know what it was.
Refn: People have so many strange opinions, and also, a lot of a people begin to own you and they want you to do things in a specific way."

The extremely violent and highly stylized collaboration reunited the actor and director from 2011's "Drive."

The audible boos have mirrored the written ones by film critics, who have generally harshly panned the drama about a drug dealer/Muay Thai boxing promoter, played by Gosling.