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Nicolas Winding Refn’s new streaming service tries to shape a better future out of a sleazy past

August 08, 2018 / BRIAN CRECENTE

A few years ago, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn began buying and restoring old exploitation films just because he could. Last week, he took the hobby public with the launch of byNWR, a new, free website designed to showcase and share that collection a few titles at a time, via selections curated and supplemented by a rotating group of guest editors. Typically for Refn, the outspoken writer-director of Drive, the Pusher trilogy, and The Neon Demon, considerable self-created fanfare preceded the launch. That initial public-relations wave included an op-ed in The Guardian, which generated a widely circulated quote about the hysterical, high-stakes tone of the world, given the conditions the Trump administration has created. (“It’s terrifying. It is also thrilling.”) It also included a call for “good, challenging art, not good-taste art, which is the chief enemy of creativity.”