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Lars von Trier
Lars von Trier

Lars Von Trier and Nicolas Winding Refn are still fighting

The Nymphomaniac director used a recent magazine interview to call his compatriot ‘an opportunist in an unpleasant way’

Lars Von Trier and Nicolas Winding Refn used to be friends.

I mean, you could see why they might hit it off. They’re both Danish, provocative, critically polarising, both disciples of filmmaking at its most visceral and both prone to becoming deeply attached to their leading actors of choice (though, with Charlotte Gainsborough and Ryan Gosling respectively, you can’t really blame them). According to Von Trier, he’s known the Drive filmmaker since “he was a kid”. But, in 2011, everything changed.

Following Von Trier’s infamous Melancholia press conference at Cannes (which saw the contentious director bizzarely claim he was a Nazi, and that he ‘understood’ Hitler), Refn told reporters that Von Trier was “getting old and his comedy routine is a bit tiresome”. From then on, the two auteurs have been embroiled in a very public feud, trading barbs and insults in the press with tetchy regularity. Last year, Refn even claimed that his old friend had tried to sleep with his wife. Oh. 

While it’s been a little quiet on the beef front since then, the Nymphomaniac director couldn’t resist stoking the fire in an interview with Danish magazine Soundvenue, in which he claimed that Refn was “an opportunist in an unpleasant way”. 

“He could have saved me from eternal suffering,” he explained, referring to Refn’s failure to defend him during the aftermath of his controversial comments. “He did a press conference the day after my press conference in Cannes, that year with Hitler. And he could have said, ‘Lars is an idiot, and he makes bad films but he is not a Nazi, we’ve known each other I don’t know how long.’ It took me three years to escape the French police.”

Von Trier also said that he doesn’t watch Refn’s films, though did eventually accept that his fellow Dane was “talented”. While we could focus on that as a small positive – a potential light at the end of a long and irritable tunnel, in which foes eventually come together through a mutual respect and admiration for each other’s individual artistic endeavours – beefs are loads more fun, aren’t they.

Back in the ring. Over to you, Nicolas.