Fantastic Fest Interview: Filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn On His Book ‘THE ACT OF SEEING’


4_THE_ACT_OF_SEEING_FRONTPreston Barta // Editor

While he’s certainly had his hands full lately with his upcoming film THE NEON DEMON, filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (DRIVE, ONLY GOD FORGIVES) stopped in Austin, TX, for a special exhibit and signing celebration of his new book, THE ACT OF SEEING.

Nicolas Winding Refn during Fantastic Fest. Photo by Jack Plunkett.

Nicolas Winding Refn during Fantastic Fest. Photo by Jack Plunkett.

Co-authored by London’s FrightFest curator and acclaimed horror expert Alan Jones, THE ACT OF SEEING shares Refn’s unique collection of over 300 rare American film posters, which are all bound in a rich hardcover book. Stemming from an obsession with the art house film posters that decorated the exterior walls of local movie theatres, the book shows Refn’s earliest visual connection with film, including the vintage visuals of SPIKED HEELS AND BLACK NYLONS, OBSCENE HOUSE and ALICE IN ACIDLAND to THE TWISTED SEX, TORTURE ME KISS ME and ZERO IN AND SCREAM.

Fresh Fiction had the opportunity to catch up with Refn to discuss his new book, his film tastes compared to his wife’s, and thoughts on modern posters.

Our interview with Nicolas Winding Refn Discusses THE ACT OF SEEING:

0:13-1:32 | How his tastes in film align with his wife’s
1:32-1:56 | How many films in the book his wife has seen
1:56-2:15 | Purpose of his book
2:15-2:35 | Where you can find the films in the book
2:35-3:21 | Thoughts on modern posters and his movie posters
3:21-3:42 | Familiarity with the films in the book
3:21-4:47 | If someone made a film about his life

THE ACT OF SEEING hits shelves on Monday, October 5th. You can pre-order it now at

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.