After a decade plagued by financing imbroglios and enervating battles with financiers, producers and distributors, the period between 2008 and 2010 saw a turn to the real in Abel Ferrara’s oeuvre as he directed a trio of documentaries: Chelsea on the Rocks (2008), Napoli, Napoli, Napoli (2009; hereafter Napoli) and Mulberry St. (2010). His subsequent fiction film productions Welcome to New York (2014) and Pasolini (2014), linked to events in the lives of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Pier Paolo Pasolini respectively, continue this trend of engaging with the real.

The three documentaries were made during a period in which Ferrara was commuting between New York and Italy (where he was making Mary (2005) and Go Go Tales (2007)). Chelsea on the Rocks documents a watershed moment for New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel, with a new consortium rejecting the counter-cultural philosophy of previous owner Stanley Bard, who had been responsible for fostering the hotel’s reputation as a haven for artists and eccentricity. Both Chelsea on the Rocks and Napoli employ a similar mix of interviews, re-enactments and a smattering of archival footage. Napoli portrays the systemic, repressive grip of the mafia over a city consigned to a perpetual state of crime, conflict and political paralysis. Mulberry St. places Ferrara in the Little Italy district of New York during the lead up to the Feast of San Gennaro, meeting up with new and old friends as he sweeps through a neighbourhood that has played an enormous role in his life and work.

The scant critical coverage accorded to these films has often been dismissive, even scathing. The beef generally seems to be that the films are too rambling and unstructured, with Ferrara’s presence overwhelming and obstructive and his use of re-enactments too over the top and divorced from the standard truth claims expected of documentaries. 1 Indeed, much of the coverage qualifies notions of ‘real’ and ‘documentary’, 2 with Chelsea on the Rocks and Napoli variously described as “docu-fictions”, docudrama, hybrid films and “docu-films”, incorporating as they do re-enactments featuring visceral depictions of violence, sex and drug taking. This content and the unconventional approach to narrative structure connects these films to Ferrara’s fictional work, as does the Little Italy location and many of the characters who appear in Mulberry St. Ferrara has himself tackled critics of his ‘mixed media’ approach by way of a sly auto-critique: “We were entertaining this style of incorporating fictional scenes into documentaries … so for all these brilliant critics, we’re working on that, we’ll get it right one of these days.” 3

I want to address these criticisms, but also look beyond them and examine the major tendencies to be located in these works: their deliberate mixing of techniques to tell stories; their emphasis on place and loss through a mixture of lamentation and humour; their consistent focus on the logical endpoint of corporatist capitalism in a loss of community and, perhaps most importantly, their dissection of the knife edge balance and symbiotic relationship between performance and the real which is at the core of all documentary representation. In all of these aspects, the films are more complex than they have been given credit for.

MIX AND MATCH

As with his fiction film work, which has never displayed an unvarying signature, Ferrara’s methodology in these documentaries is pragmatic and, in the best sense, undiscriminating, demonstrating a preparedness to incorporate a wide range of techniques to tell the stories about which he is passionate. There is nothing detached about the films, which are deeply personal and autobiographically inflected. Ferrara is rigorously focused on the places and people that fascinate him.

Abel Ferrara documentaries

Napoli Napoli Napoli

The use of re-enactments in Napoli and Chelsea on the Rocks demonstrate this approach, seasoning a predominantly interview based format. They abruptly enter the narrative without foreshadowing, sometimes edited against the grain of preceding images, at other times (particularly later in Napoli) overlapping with the interviews they are edited into, so that the interview dialogue is layered over images from the re-enactment. In its plenitude, this style is at odds with the notion of a “discourse of sobriety” identified by Bill Nichols, i.e. that vein of documentary philosophy or practice wedded to notions of the real and a specific ideal of truth. Documentary theorist Michael Renov pointedly corrupted this description, invoking the more expressive tendencies in documentary by referring to a “discourse of delirium”. 4 Ferrara’s approach to re-creating scenes, particularly those in Chelsea on the Rocks depicting celebrities such as Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen and Janis Joplin, manifestly tends towards this expressive end of the spectrum.

The days are long gone when the label ‘exploitation cinema’ was used pejoratively, and as director of Driller Killer (1979) and Ms 45 (1981), Ferrara played a major role in this shift in attitude. So it’s not surprising that the re-enactments in Chelsea on the Rocks and Napoli contain exploitative elements. The depiction of Nancy Spungen’s murder in Chelsea pushes the envelope by representing the perpetrators as drug dealers, running counter to received wisdom and pushing the film into prime conspiracy theory territory. 5 Yet Ferrara has noted that his re-creation of the events leading up to Spungen’s death reflects the belief of residents of the hotel that Sid did not kill Nancy, a theory that he thought worth presenting while still noting “the re-enactments we do are fictitious”. 6 In stoking the fire in this way, Ferrara offers a refreshingly provocative and open approach to uncovering the truth, adding to the curious tone by casting a scenery-chewing Adam Goldberg as a drug dealing murderer (partnered with Giancarlo Esposito).

There’s nothing conventional about the way re-enactments are introduced or the narrative progresses in Chelsea on the Rocks. The first appearance of Bijou Phillips (in close up) playing Nancy Spungen singing Slow Boat to China is not signposted, before a gradual widening of the frame and focus pull reveals Sid Vicious (Jamie Burke). The re-enactment of her murder is edited with archival footage of Vicious after his arrest and interviews with Chelsea Hotel residents fuelling the drug dealer murder theory. Similarly, it is only after Ferrara’s then girlfriend Shanyn Leigh appears twice that we realise she is playing a version of Janis Joplin, who answers the door at a wild party to an unrecognisable Grace Jones, playing against type as a weary, working stiff neighbour in a dowdy wig pleading for the music to be turned down. Jones’ character turns up briefly later in the film as a guardian angel figure trying to help a worse for wear Janis. Again, these scenes are part of a palimpsest approach by Ferrara, rounding out his version of Janis by weaving in footage of her on the Festival Express train tour of Canada, singing alongside Jerry Garcia and Rick Danko, and an interview in which Robert Crumb ruminates on how she died as a result of her fame.

A series of interviews with female prisoners held in the Pozzuoli female penitentiary in Naples forms the spine of Napoli’s narrative, though re-enactments are again designed to spice these up. All the interviews proceed from the same set of questions, a technique that seems to parody a quest for objectivity: “what’s your name?”; “where are you from?”; “how old are you?”; “what are you in for?”; “how long have you been in for?” The testimony in response to these questions displays a similar uniformity, consistently tracing the abject destiny of ordinary Napoletano. Aspects of the prisoners’ testimony bleed into the interview testimony of other citizens, including politicians, local activists, journalists, a judge and a businessman; all attest to the ubiquitous tentacles of the mafia in crime, business and politics, touching on corruption, bribery, graft and political inertia. An unexpected geopolitical dimension is added through an interview with an educated Nigerian woman, who resorted to drug dealing to pay her debt to people-traffickers. She demurs when asked what she thinks of Italy, upset but clearly wanting to avoid insulting her hosts.

Ferrara’s experience conducting interviews with female prisoners in Napoli, assisted by ex-convict Gaetano Di Vaio, sowed the seeds for the three scripted and acted stories seeded throughout the film: “Struck by their statements, run through with bitterness and fatalism, he decided to graft their life stories onto three different narratives.” 7 These three stories, written by Di Vaio and two other Naples locals, Peppe Lanzetta and Maurizio Braucci, portray a group of men in prison, the background to a mafia hit and a family melodrama in which Shanyn Leigh plays a young prostitute.

The pre-credits sequence in Napoli initially leaves the viewer unmoored, without context for what is to follow. It features a diverse mix of shots and scenes which are only revealed to be the template for the film’s narrative over the course of the rest of the film: a group of male prisoners in a cell, a man walking the streets and meeting a friend, a family at home and Ferrara leaving his apartment and on the street, driving up to a building signposted as a women’s prison. For the uninitiated viewer, it is not apparent at this point that three scripted stories are being introduced here, though the highly composed mise-en-scène, featuring a roving camera within a prison cell and bird’s eye shots of the men walking through narrow Naples alleys, tips us off.

Many critics and viewers assume structural errors or naïveté are at play here; however, the ambiguity resulting from playing with narrative structure (in terms of sequencing, ellipses and the occluded release of information) is characteristic of Ferrara’s work. A level of ambiguity shadows the re-enactments for the rest of the film: when the prostitute played by Shanyn Leigh is raped, it seems that the assailant is her father. While the lack of foreshadowing or backgrounding raises a wealth of questions that are left open, the status of this moment as a logical culmination of preceding scenes is beyond dispute. The scene itself leaves little to the imagination, including cutaways to lurid close ups of a creepy looking doll and a Virgin Mary and baby Jesus icon. Similarly, in the Mafia hit episode, while the victim is identified as a traitor early in the film before going on a trip extending over the remainder of the film with his killers, the backstory and nature of his treachery is not explored. Ferrara is more interested in subtleties of tone and mood than any psychological underpinning as he develops the dynamic of the relationship between the men.

Abel Ferrara documentaries

Mulberry Street

Mulberry St. is the work closest to conventional documentary form, its freewheeling format dictated by the relatively straightforward brief of documenting the lead up to the San Gennaro Festival. It does not include the same kind of formal or organised interviews that drive Chelsea on the Rocks and Napoli. Instead, it is structured around Ferrara’s encounters with groups and individuals as he careens through the neighbourhood. Subjects range from locals such as his 90-year-old neighbour (Ferrara lived in Little Italy while preparing for and making the film), to actors (Frank Vincent, Matthew Modine, Danny Aiello, Steven Van Zandt) and colourful friends, colleagues and locals such as Frankie Cee (bit part actor in earlier Ferrara films and executive producer of Mulberry St.), Butchie the Hat and John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia.

Mulberry St. incorporates just one piece of archival footage, of a Tony Danza fight from 1977. This footage is preceded by a shot of his photo on the wall in Ciarcia’s restaurant and a brief discussion about how he is on his way to Singapore to appear on a reality TV show about boxing. We are left to guess that Ciarcia is acquainted with Danza. This strange segue encapsulates the film’s restlessness, jumping from place to place, face to face, one shaggy dog anecdote after another. Towards the end of the film the pay-off arrives. After Ferrara admiringly refers to Ciarcia’s work ethic during the Festival, saying Danza would be richer if he’d kept working with Ciarcia, the film concludes by cutting to the TKO conclusion of the fight glimpsed earlier. It is not just the end of the fight and the film, but also a particular type of New York community.

NEW YORK/NAPLES ELEGY

Ending Mulberry St. with this footage allows its indexical force to revive the past, reinforcing the passage of time and playfully invoking Tony Danza, a figure who resonates at the local level in the Little Italy neighbourhood, but who also achieved global fame through his TV roles in Taxi (1978-1993) and Who’s the Boss? (1984-1992). Both Mulberry St. and Chelsea on the Rocks, while frequently very funny, are tinged with a sense of loss as Ferrara strives to document disappearing lifestyles, places, personalities and institutions. Mulberry Street threads in footage from Ferrara’s own films set in the neighbourhood: 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy (1976), China Girl (1987) and Go Go Tales (2007), and a number of people from the neighbourhood tell stories from having acted in a key chase scene in China Girl. There is an affective quality to Ferrara’s portrayal of these characters and their stories; he is capturing people and places that are disappearing and their stories hold out the promise of preserving their memory and testimony for posterity.

New York has more often than not been at the centre of Ferrara’s cinema. 8 As always with Ferrara, these home town portraits are not straightforward. Neither Chelsea on the Rocks nor Mulberry St. are obviously agitational works, even where the director’s perspective is clear. Any wistfulness in Chelsea on the Rocks is balanced by the film’s candid account of the more squalid side of the hotel. Within minutes of the film’s opening the stories of loneliness, suffering, exploitation, ghosts, addiction, chronic illness, suicide and death are mounting up, and Ferrara remarks that living in the hotel is “killing me”. He exhibits a hard-headed attitude to gentrification, rejecting nostalgia for a lost golden era: “Manhattan’s been bought and sold so many times. They stole it from the Indians, now they stole it from the artists … You wanna see the Manhattan that everyone so cherished? Go to Flatbush. Or Bushwick, rather … It’s there. Go to Istanbul.” 9

Both New York films tend to be more clear-sighted than campaigning, reflecting Ferrara’s acknowledgement in interviews that time moves on. In relation to the Feast of San Gennaro portrayed in Mulberry St., Ferrara remarks: “But at one time it was run by the street, and it was a 24-hour drinking, partying, gambling nightmare if you lived here, but it was a big money-making deal. And then post-Giulianni (sic), no more firecrackers, the city runs it, so it becomes it’s own new thing. I mean, I live on the street, so thank God. I don’t want to see a bunch of drunks.” 10

Ferrara’s portrait of Naples is the most unrelievedly despairing of the three films. Its bleakness is largely unleavened by the mordant, sly humour that marks the New York films which are interested in nailing down a specific time and place, the moment when the Chelsea Hotel and Mulberry Street are “on the turn.” Napoli is not time sensitive in this way, with the Camorra mafia clans a perennial phenomenon. Like the other films though, Napoli has a personal edge as Naples was the home of Ferrara’s grandfather. Ferrara has drawn parallels between the Bronx, where he was brought up, and the Naples of his grandfather’s youth, saying “I might be a stranger to the city of Naples but I’m not a stranger to the problem of trying to survive in a city reeling from violence and poverty but also from its overfow of art, culture and the intense love of family.” 11 Napoli juxtaposes excerpts from an archival film by Emilio Marsili, Naples ’66, which addresses planning and housing issues including the creation of new estates for the socially disadvantaged, with contemporary footage of protests against evictions of residents from the same type of estates, now seen as virtual prisons, 40 years later. The urban congestion, planning and housing issues aired in Marsili’s film remain unabated.

Abel Ferrara documentaries

Chelsea on the Rocks

The interviews in Chelsea on the Rocks constitute a form of social history, focussed largely on the past and representing a contrast to the relentlessly downbeat story of Naples. While some reflect on the changes wrought by the boardroom coup which ousted long term manager Stanley Bard, known for indulging his artistic clientele, much of the film features tales told about or by larger than life characters who have resided at the hotel. They chronicle a romanticised era, 1960s to 1990s Manhattan, with the Chelsea Hotel at its epicentre, before gentrification steamrollered the gritty, bohemian underbelly. Ferrara emphasises the self-absorbed, myth-making qualities of the Chelsea residents, with humour arising from unlikely sources, such as a four day drug trip in which a song on repeat seemed to stretch to fill the time, a brain haemorrhage which preceded a three day coma, and an African object d’art constituted by animal faeces, menstruation blood and children’s bones. The most chastening of these stories comes from former Chelsea resident Milos Forman, telling of an old lady who drowned after firemen used water cannon to blast her room. When Stanley Bard says that he doesn’t recall this, Forman remarks that Bard doesn’t remember the bad things that happened in the hotel. Ferrara ensures that we do not exercise a similar form of willed amnesia.

ACTING UP

The nature of these interviews signals the ultimate connecting point between all three films: their preoccupation with role-playing and performance. Reflecting on his use of the mixture of interviews and re-enactments, Ferrara has stated:

You know, it’s funny, when you put a camera in front of someone, then all of a sudden you question how real things are. Once the camera enters the equation, everybody’s an actor. You know, just because you’re talking to someone in a documentary situation doesn’t mean the information you’re getting is true. And the same thing, just because you’re making stuff up doesn’t mean it’s fiction. It was something that just seemed like the right way to put together to tell a story — to use all the elements.12

Ferrara’s previous work has demonstrated a similar preoccupation with performance, as Brad Stevens examines in his book Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision, in particular in his analysis of Snake Eyes 13 At the centre of the recent documentaries is the performance of the director himself, the same Ferrara whose public image as a deranged “master of provocation” has at times overshadowed his work. 14

Ferrara’s presence dominates each of the films, as he prepares to film and edit, interrupts filming, constantly scoffs and guffaws at anecdotes told by his subjects, asks questions and wanders into frame or around the streets chasing subjects. He is also shown when he is ostensibly off duty, playing music with his band (in both Napoli and Mulberry St.), being interviewed by journalists or at home with his girlfriend Shanyn Leigh. This filming style clearly rejects any semblance of a purist observational approach, but it is also at one remove from the ringmaster approach popularised by filmmakers like Nick Broomfield and Michael Moore in recent decades. Ferrara presents himself more like a cheerleader or Greek chorus for much of Chelsea on the Rocks and Mulberry St. in particular. One typical example is when, early on in Chelsea on the Rocks, a resident tells the graphic story of a brain haemorrhage that left him lying on the floor of his flat for over three days. Ferrara registers his shock by swearing and laughing throughout as the man recounts details of the story, including being denied a drink of coke while dying of thirst because his inability to swallow would cause lung aspiration.

Interestingly, the closest any of the films come to a purist observational style is when Ferrara inserts archival footage showing excerpts of Andy Warhol and William Burroughs eating a meal, taken from Nigel Finch’s 1981 BBC Arena documentary on the Chelsea, into Chelsea on the Rocks. Even here though, we are invited to assess the roles played by the pair as Warhol fawns over a drawing produced by Burroughs. We are encouraged to make this same assessment across the different modes of representation in each film, whether between re-enactments, interviews, musical performances, street encounters or direct to camera addresses.

While the performances in these films cannot by their nature reach the sustained level of intensity exhibited by actors like Zoë Lund, Christopher Walken or Harvey Keitel in Ferrara’s fiction films, everybody who appears on screen has been judged for their ability to perform or tell stories. Ferrara portrays himself, as we would expect of any great director, as an enthusiastic and impatient hustler; he is clearly only editing in talent that he finds compelling in some way. The truth of every statement in the films is up for grabs, liable to be revised. Whether it be the tall and often very polished stories of the residents of the Chelsea Hotel, the freewheeling, seemingly extempore encounters between groups of people in Mulberry St., the tragic stories told by prisoners and citizens in formal interviews in Napoli or an occasionally sensational re-enactment, each representation is at the service of a greater objective. Rather than trading in grand statements or pat truths, Ferrara strives to create works of art presenting a richer, more nuanced but still revelatory depiction of the complexity and contradictions of life.

CORPORATE CRITIQUE

Nicole Brenez’s study of Ferrara contends that his work explores evil in history, in particular noting that thematically, “his work explores the articulation of two of the century’s emblematic criminal logics, the Mafia and capitalism.” 15 Brenez has also listed the manner in which Ferrara employs metaphors to critique economic alienation and “capitalism as catastrophe” in films including Body Snatchers (1993), King of New York (1990), New Rose Hotel (1998), The Driller Killer (1979) and The Addiction (1995). 16

Chelsea on the Rocks, Napoli and Mulberry St., all produced after Brenez’s study was published, can be read within this thematic paradigm. Consistent with much of Ferrara’s fiction work, one clear strand in all three films is the destruction of a society or community (including families, particularly in Napoli, or adopted families in Chelsea on the Rocks and Mulberry St.) by forms of exploitation characteristic of capitalism or institutional power.

In referring to the battle for control on the Board of the Chelsea Hotel, Chelsea on the Rocks clearly denounces a new generation renouncing the bohemian values of the original owners from whom they are descended. These Board members stand accused of wanting to evict long term residents and artists so that rents can be increased and a boutique hotel created along the lines of the makeover given to the Chateau Marmont in LA. Former owner-manager Stanley Bard tells Ferrara that his ex-partners, the fathers and grandfathers of the new ruling clique on the Board, “would be turning in their grave” if they could see the direction their descendants wanted to take the hotel in; “They were not corporate, they were sincere, lovely people”. One interviewee in Chelsea on the Rocks admiringly cites ex-resident Harry Smith, a musicologist and experimental filmmaker, who would pick up his mail “ … and in one movement he’d take it out of the box and put it in the trash”, including cheques, rental and financial statements. This wistful reference to an era when artists could live unencumbered by everyday concerns is set in sharp relief to the new regime’s corporate sterility.

Mulberry St. is replete with episodes knowingly edited into the film where Ferrara complains about being cheated and betrayed by lawyers, producers, distributors and collaborators, including one actor referred to as ‘Scotty’ whose appearance in Mulberry St. prompts a stream of invective from Ferrara because he is suing for a scriptwriting credit on Mary (2005) and Go Go Tales (2007). A moment where Frankie Cee talks about Ferrara seemingly inadvertently selling the rights to Bad Lieutenant for $20,000 typifies these episodes, which oppose a movie business captive to unethical behaviour to the creative process so transparently on display in Mulberry St. as Ferrara sets up shots, directs the action, asks questions, participates in debates and edits the film, laughing uproariously for much of the time. Interviewees in Mulberry St. also criticise the City of New York’s mercenary approach to the San Gennaro Festival. Ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani is fingered as inaugurating this trend towards increasing red tape as part of his campaign to clean up New York, with one interviewee complaining that he had to get a food processing licence even though he was only mixing ice and syrup.

It is the mafia that is identified with the outer elements of monopoly capitalism in Napoli. As a journalist states: “Even going to the café for a coffee means giving money to the mafia.” An older businessman talks about the cost of doing business ethically in Naples, saying that it takes four people to do something in Naples that would require one person in the North. But it’s the testimony of the female prisoners that throws the structural inequality into sharp relief. All admit to their crimes, generally drug offences or theft, while time after time emphasising the lack of choice available to them. The monopoly hold of the mafia is shown to stifle opportunity, leading to systemic, generational poverty, inequality and institutionalisation.

Ferrara’s documentaries are not easily separated from his feature fiction work, reflecting an idiosyncratic approach to storytelling and an obsession with particular places and themes. His personal investment in Chelsea on the Rocks, Napoli and Mulberry St. is clear, as is his aversion to adopting a didactic campaigning style, even when covering clearly political subjects close to his own heart. These films are literally labours of love rather than economic propositions. Ferrara documents communities under siege, eager to capture them from a fresh angle or, in the case of the New York films, before they disappear. They are rough and ready at times, and not always coherent, which may account for why they have been critically short-changed. However, like the grainy footage of Tony Danza, these representations of Ferrara and his subjects promise to remain fascinating.

 

Endnotes

  1. See Slant Jeremiah Kipp, “Chelsea on the Rocks”, Slant, 28 September 2009 http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/chelsea-on-the-rocks; Lauren Wissot, “Abel Ferrara’s Napoli, Napoli, Napoli”, Slant, 3 January 2011 http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/article/abel-ferraras-napoli-napoli-napoli; Nick Pinkerton, “Abel Ferrara stumbles with Chelsea on the Rocks, Village Voice, 29 September 2009 http://www.villagevoice.com/film/abel-ferrara-stumbles-with-chelsea-on-the-rocks-6391887; Willemein Sanders, “Naples Equals the Mafia, Dox, No. 89 Spring 2011 https://willemiens.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/naples-equals-the-mafia.pdf; Lauren Wissot, “Ferrara on the Rocks: Chelsea on the Rocks”, Slant, 18 October 2009
  2. See, for example, Bruce Bennett, “Out of the Bronx: A Savvy Cinematic Vision”, The Wall Street Journal, 5 January 2011 http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704723104576061862427427804 and http://www.barbican.org.uk/film/event-detail.asp?ID=10605
  3. Brandon Harris, “21st Century Man: Abel Ferrara”, Filmmaker, 11 January 2001 http://filmmakermagazine.com/18292-21st-century-man-abel-ferrara/#.VsfObxEhykg
  4. Michael Renov, The Subject of Documentary, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004) p.100
  5. Jeremiah Kipp refers to “pale, half-baked imitations of the lives bubbling over in the documentary footage” in his article “Chelsea on the Rocks”, Slant, 28 September 2009 http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/chelsea-on-the-rocks
  6. Gustavo Turner, “This Ain’t Your Dad’s Sid and Nancy: Film Maverick Abel Ferrara Brings His Chelsea Hotel Documentary to LA”, LA Weekly, 10 December 2009, http://www.laweekly.com/music/this-aint-your-dads-sid-and-nancy-film-maverick-abel-ferrara-brings-his-chelsea-hotel-documentary-to-la-2404428
  7. 66TH Venice International Film Festival website, http://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema/archive/festival/lineup/official_selection/out_of_competition/napoli.html
  8. See Philippe Met, “Abel Ferrara: Filming (on) the Wild Side (of New York)”, Senses of Cinema, Issue 68 (September 2013) http://sensesofcinema.com/2013/feature-articles/abel-ferrara-filming-on-the-wild-side-of-new-york/
  9. Nick Pinkerton, “Interview: Abel Ferrara, Film Comment, 3 October 2014: http://www.filmcomment.com/blog/interview-abel-ferrara-pasolini-ifc-lieutenant/
  10. Christian Niedan, “Camera Q & A: Abel Ferrara on Shooting Films in New York and Italy”, Camera in the Sun, http://camerainthesun.com/?p=4216
  11. “Director Abel Ferrara opens London international documentary festival” (http://www.lidf.co.uk/assets/uploads/2010/03/ferrara-release.pdf)
  12. Christian Niedan, “Camera Q & A: Abel Ferrara on Shooting Films in New York and Italy”, Camera in the Sun, http://camerainthesun.com/?p=4216
  13. Brad Stevens, Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision (London, Fab Press, 2014)
  14. Nicole Brenez discusses Ferrara’s role playing to project a carefully calibrated image in these terms in her book Contemporary Film Directors: Abel Ferrara. Trans. Adrian Martin (Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 2007, p.4)
  15. Ibid, p.5
  16. Ibid, pp.9-10

About The Author

Tim O’Farrell teaches cinema at the Victorian College of the Arts, programmes films for the Melbourne International Film Festival, has a PhD in Cinema Studies from La Trobe University and works as a lawyer. He is currently an editor of Senses of Cinema.