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‘The Neon Demon’: Nicolas Winding Refn Anatomizes Elle Fanning’s Audition Scene for the New York Times

There's more to his fashion-world thriller than meets the eye.

“The Neon Demon”

If you didn’t see “The Neon Demon” in theaters this weekend — and its anemic box-office returns suggest that you almost certainly didn’t — then perhaps the dulcet tones of Nicolas Winding Refn can convince you to spend your hard-earned dollars at the theater on his latest movie. The writer/director narrates a scene from his controversial thriller for the New York Times’ ongoing “Anatomy of a Scene” series, with insights suggesting there’s more to it than meets the eye.

READ MORE: Nicolas Winding Refn Wants to Make a Batgirl Movie and Truly Be ‘Reborn as a 16-Year-Old Girl’

In it, the aspiring model played by Elle Fanning auditions for a catwalk gig alongside several others — all of them in their skivvies. “The idea of shooting the scene all in underwear, which is a true scenario, is that it makes everything just pure meat — and the idea that you are disposable and you are degraded and you are kind of looked upon as nothing but a prop,” the “Drive” and “Only God Forgives” director explains. He then mentions his avoidance of storyboarding and his affinity for tableaux-style widescreen, with each shot telling a new story.

READ MORE: Arthouse Audit: A24’s ‘Swiss Army Man’ Slices ‘The Neon Demon’

Refn’s film, which premiered at Cannes last month, contains many other scenes well worth anatomizing — its surface beauty isn’t the only aspect of “The Neon Demon” worth a closer look.

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