byNWR Beta Launch!

Last year, and into the beginning of this year, I reviewed every single feature film ever directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Find the beginning of that series here) as well as a number of documentaries on the man’s life and work. I developed an intense interest in this artist whose personal creative inspirations come primarily from kitsch filmmaking and Criterion classics, like my own. Who is color blind like myself, but manages to use color in novel, interesting, and thematic ways in his films. A man prone to oscillation between self-deprecation and grandiose statements about his own creative genius.

Towards the end of this period, I found out that he was in the beginning stages of launching a new streaming platform for films of a rare nature. Films that are hard to find, but legendary, films that express something poignant about the psychical chaos hidden deep within the American psyche. Southern Gothics, American Neo-realism, Independent films, Exploitation cinema, Hellfire and Brimstone pieces and Godsploitation, and works of undefinable genre. The unearthing of these works, which he has collected the rights to and fought to restore and preserve were a revelation to me. As such, I spent a month reviewing a number of these prospective titles.

Shanty Tramp and Hot Thrills and Warm Chills. Night Tide and The Exiles. If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? and The Burning Hell. And now, I’m excited to announce, that as of today, byNWR, Refn’s new free streaming film archive, interview and essay compendium has made its Beta debut. I suggest you go check it out and spend a few weeks digging deep into the core of what it means to be American through these tales of crime, of passion, of the exuberance of life lived authentically as an engagement into the existential quest of finding what it is that makes you who you are.

In a time when political life is a shit show and the news serves only to provoke anxiety, fear, and disillusionment, a retreat into the past might be just what is called for. Because without that perspective, our art is barren. In the words of Devo: ‘We need art to again be an affirmation of life and values in the face of the corporate boot coming down and kicking you in the head.” byNWR is just one new step that could lead you and I toward that direction, and thereby toward a much-needed revivification of a culture that has been forced to repeat itself over and over, producing nothing new of note or import, since the late 1970s.

Now is the time. Go forward bravely and fight to carve life into art before the alabaster dwindles to nothing!


A Manifesto, and an update,

Cody Ward


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