News from the Locarno Festival

Abel Ferrara

Abel Ferrara


© Frenetic Films


The Pardo d’onore Swisscom will be presented to the American director Abel Ferrara. The Award ceremony will take place on Friday August 5 at 21:30 on the Piazza Grande.For the occasion Abel Ferrara will introduce an exclusive sneak-preview of sequences from his new film, still in production, 4:44 Last Day on Earth, starring Willem Dafoe and Shanyn Leigh.

The Q & A with the audience will take place on Saturday August 6th, at 13:30 at the Spazio Cinema (Forum) and will be moderated by Jean-Francois Rauger, Director of the programming at the Cinémathèque française and film critic at Le Monde. 

In honour of Abel Ferrara the following films will be screened:

BAD LIEUTENANT – United States – 1992 – 96 min
KING OF NEW YORK – United States /Italy/UK – 1990 – 103 min
MARY – Italy/France/ United States – 2005 – 83 min
THE FUNERAL – United States – 1996 – 99 min

In 1981, Ms. 45 revealed the talent of a major director specialising in issues around violence and love. The filmmaker delivered a baroque urban poem pitched between hyperrealism and nightmare and the film became a standard-bearer for cinephiles due to its aggressive tone, radical form and sense of despair. Ferrara was recognised as a successor to Sam Fuller, Cassavetes and Pasolini.

In 1990, King of New York marked the peak of the first phase in Ferrara’s filmography, dedicated to genre cinema and its metamorphoses. King of New York offers a fantasmatic and modernist, yet also political vision of film noir mythology. Bad Lieutenant (1992) is another major landmark in contemporary American cinema and brings the metaphysical and the religious into the urban thriller.

Bad Lieutenant exemplifies Abel Ferrara’s art: a haunted, carnal film, both allegorical and literal, in total empathy with its larger than life characters. In the 1990s Ferrara enjoyed a prodigious creative streak, turning out a string of films as brilliant and diverse in their ambitions as Dangerous Game (1993), Body Snatchers (1993), The Addiction (1995), The Funeral (1996), The Blackout (1997). Most of Abel Ferrara’s films deal with love and violence, sin and redemption, the conflict between faith and human behaviour.

Mary (2005) is about faith and film and often moves into the form of a cinematic essay. A vast, complex mosaic of images, a network of signs, ideas and sensations leads the viewer into the heart of the questions that plague the three main characters, each of whom is, in their own way, seeking God.

Olivier Père

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