Abel Ferrara

Abel Ferrara

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Welcome to New York Review


Excellent

Both this film and its central character are so unapologetic that it's difficult to get either out of your head long after the final credits roll. A fictionalised version of a notorious real story, this is an unflinching account of how the rich and powerful live seemingly above the law. Until they crash with a thud so loud it's heard around the world. And as an exploration of how money and privilege corrupt the soul, this film is essential viewing, no matter how uncomfortable it is to watch.

At the centre is Devereaux (Gerard Depardieu), the corpulent head of the World Bank, whose life is a whirlwind of prostitutes, drugs and wild sex parties, even as he still has hopes of one day becoming president of France. Then in a five-star suite in a Manhattan hotel, he unthinkingly assaults a maid (Pamela Afesi). And he has no idea why he's being arrested in a media frenzy. He calls his wealthy wife Simone (Jacqueline Bisset) for bail him out, and she reluctantly drops her charity work to fly to New York and rent a house for them for the duration of his trial, standing by his side for the cameras, along with his daughter Sophie (Marie Moute). But Devereaux is so sure his political connections will get him off that he remains utterly unrepentant.

Depardieu is astonishing in the role, giving a fearless performance as a man who is so self-absorbed that he can't even begin to think that his actions might hurt someone. Consequences don't matter to him, because he's always done whatever he wants. And Depardieu is utterly transparent in every scene, most memorably when he is strip-searched by the cops and, even more disturbingly, when he mauls a young journalist (Shanyn Leigh) interviewing him about the trial. Opposite him, Bisset is radiant and fierce as a woman worn down by her infant-like husband, but standing by him against her better judgment. Their bristly conversations in the final act play out in long takes that are seriously gripping.

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Welcome To New York Trailer


Devereaux is well known by the people closest to him as an uninhibited playboy, using his wealth and his high status as a rich French politician to gain him access to a whole world of sexual adventures. Despite the fact that he has a loving wife, nothing stops him in his pursuit of pleasure, but such undisciplined behaviour is always likely to be dangerous. After one spontaneous encounter with a New York hotel maid, he finds himself suddenly accused by authorities of being a rapist. While everyone knows of his womanizing ways, no-one would've suspected such an occurence and Devereaux is left cowering and desperate, and feeling guilty that his lifestyle has led to such injustice. Will a man who has so many big ideas on rescuing the economy manage to hold his high for long enough to protest his innocence? Or has he managed to end his promising career?

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Filming on the set of June Project

Abel Ferrara - Filming on the set of 'June Project,' the working title for the upcoming movie about the sex scandal of former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The filmmakers are shooting on location in front of the Tribeca apartment Strauss-Kahn lived in two years ago. - New York City, NY, United States - Thursday 25th April 2013

Abel Ferrara
Abel Ferrara
Abel Ferrara

Picture - Abel Ferrara New York City, USA, Wednesday 5th October 2011

Abel Ferrara Wednesday 5th October 2011 The 49th New York Film Festival premiere of A Dangerous Method at Alice Tully Hall New York City, USA

Abel Ferrara

Bad Lieutenant Review


Excellent
On radio station WFAN, a man named "Mad Dog" unwaveringly defends his beloved Mets, who are down three games against the Dodgers in the series, to a battalion of cynical and hopeless New Yorkers. Somewhere in Manhattan, a nun is raped by two young men and left soiled at the bottom of the altar. A cop who takes a bump of cocaine only seconds after he drops his boys off at high school is in charge of keeping the city safe and, at night, he spends the money he stole and violently cajoled from criminals on swigs of vodka, sessions of free-basing and lesbian shows at a seedy hotel. If the Lord is in New York City, he stepped out for a minute.

Such are the totems of the godless world of Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, a season in hell that doubles as a vehicle for Harvey Keitel's blistering tour-de-force as the nameless officer that gives the film its name. Full to bursting with unadulterated drug use, violent sex, and moral decay, it also serves as Ferrara's most unfettered and primal ode to a one-time soulless New York that now looks more like a planet of condos.

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Mary Review


Excellent
Out of the thousands of problems one could have with Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, there is one thing that sticks out above all: its sureness and certainty. There was no questioning going on in the film and no humbleness in the great face of possibility. It was an act of utter belief, which could be seen as a great gesture or a great detriment. This obviously got the attention of indie rebel Abel Ferrara, the firebrand behind Bad Lieutenant and King of New York. Where Gibson is steadfast in his Christianity, Ferrara has the foresight to fill the film with his own humility and confusion over what's going on up there.Jesus Christ walks into a cave (this would be directly after the resurrection) to find Mary Magdalene and attempts to comfort her. Then, Jesus yells "Cut!" It turns out that he is actor/director Tony Childress (Matthew Modine), and Mary is Marie Palesi (Juliette Binoche). Tony is just wrapping his retelling of the life of Jesus, This is My Blood, and is high on his own self-righteousness. So much so that he blows up at Marie when she announces she is going to Jerusalem. See, Marie has become obsessed with the character of Mary Magdalene and has made it her new mission to try to unlock her secrets.Back in New York, hard-nosed discussion show host Ted Younger (Forest Whitaker) is prepping a week long discussion on Jesus and the Bible. He has a pregnant wife (Heather Graham) that he ignores and a pressing need to get Childress on his show. Childress agrees but Younger hits a water hazard when his wife gives birth prematurely and the life of his son is not certain. Things get really messy, but Younger gives it up to god and Childress stages a coup when a bomb threat threatens to cancel the opening screening of his film.Childress isn't just a representation of Gibson-like pomposity; he is also a representation of Ferrara's feebleness/audacity with this subject matter as well. Ferrara's search is sincere and unbelievably open, but it really is a return to the ideas that he was tangling with in Bad Lieutenant: uncomplicated redemption. Bad Lieutenant's physical world of pain and corruption eventually led to that shocking scene where the Lieutenant offers to kill the rapist and the nun asks him not to, ostensibly forgiving the kids who raped her. The redemption sought after in Mary has much more breadth and a mercurial vastness. Every character is looking for their way to rediscover god, to be brought back into his graces. Childress tries to find it by emulating it, Younger does it by finally giving into his humility and Marie wants to find it through finding Mary Magdalene's true purpose. At moments, it can be overwhelming.Ferrara returns to his city of choice with an uncanny gothic style, dark and frankly frightening. Those long shots of Younger's limo rides home evoke a deep sense of dread in the current state of cynicism and fear (often, Younger is watching news of terrorism during his rides home). For the first time since 1996's The Funeral, Ferrara has found a sustainable tone and a story that allows him room to talk about a reverent subject. Somehow, he turns confusion into a concise study on what it means to believe in god in this day and age. Consider it an act of faith. Amen, brother.

'R Xmas Review


Unbearable
I presume the inscrutible title is meant to be read as "Our Christmas," but don't expect any Home for the Holidays-style amusement in this abysmally pathetic drug drama from long-since-out-of-it director Abel Ferrara.

Though it's a wisp of a movie at 83 minutes, Ferrara manages to bore us to tears with the film's dippy story of drug deals gone wrong. The spare dialogue is a place to start: What little the film has is drowned out by annoying music and the rest consists mainly of unbroken strings of swear words, sometimes in English.

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New Rose Hotel Review


Grim
Frustrated to the point where most people will give up, Abel Ferrara's New Rose Hotel is one of the worst-realized psychodramas ever made, despite its stellar one-two punch of Walken and Dafoe. Ostensibly a story about two con men who take $100 million to get a bigshot scientist to defect to a rival firm, it eventually turns into a story of obsession and subjectivity when Dafoe's character realizes he's been had. The end result is that the last half the movie is a flashback to the first half of the movie, and mostly in slow motion. Interminable and dull, with plenty of mood lighting and little in the way of mood.

The Blackout Review


Unbearable
One of these days, I'll make good on my promise never to rent another Abel Ferrara movie. King of New York and Body Snatchers notwithstanding (and Bad Lieutenant is only fit for a single, emotive viewing), his exploitation flicks have fallen into a rut of hoary art-house trappings. It's a perfume-drenched, coke-addled visit to the seedy pornography shop, where beautiful models (no, hookers -- no, courtesans) usher you through the silk curtains.

Ferrara's only consistently smart move has been casting Christopher Walken over and over again, since Walken can make a good movie great and a loathsome movie durable whenever he's onscreen. His 8-minute scene in The Addiction is the saving grace of that otherwise abysmal, unwatchable, and pretentious failure. When he starts talking about his vampiric bowel movements, or questions whether Lili Taylor has ever read Naked Lunch, there's a much-needed dose of humor in an otherwise terminally unfunny affair. You know those Gothic club kids who are too cool to smile and let you know they're actually having fun? The Addiction is that movie.

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