Contre l'Oubli (Against Oblivion) is a compilation of 30 French filmmakers, Alain Resnais and Jean Luc Godard among them, who use film to make a plea on behalf of a political prisoner. Jean... See full summary »
Jack and Julie live in a bare flat in Paris. At night, Jack drives a taxi while Julie wanders around the city, and in the day they make love. One day Julie meets Joseph, the daytime driver ... See full summary »
Teenage siblings Nenette and Boni were raised apart as a result of their parents' divorce. Their mother, who doted on her son Boni, has died. He works for an interesting couple as a pizza ... See full summary »
Anna, a detached and diffident director, arrives in Germany to show her latest film; she checks into a hotel, invites a stranger to her bed, and abruptly tells him to leave. He asks her to ... See full summary »
After the Portuguese government demolishes his slum and relocates him to a housing project on the outskirts of Lisbon, 75-year-old Cape Verde immigrant Ventura wanders between his new and ... See full summary »
You've got to love the French, a people so in thrall to their beloved auteurs that they'll happily commission a documentary which almost exclusively consists of trailing leftfield director Abel Ferrara around the Manhattan streets at night and filming the mayhem. Fortunately, it's worth the ride.
Originally made for the French TV series 'Cinéma De Notre Temps' by a fellow outsider, the Iranian filmmaker Rafi Pitts, this isn't any kind of proper biog of the man and his controversial canon. Rather it is a grimy depiction of a larger-than-life talent going about his business - and everybody else's - bewildering strangers with an ingratiating charm.
It's a perfect approach for the subject matter. As Pitts later explained, "I knew that an interview situation wasn't going to give us any new information about Abel. The best way to portray him was to show him how he is." How much of this persona is a put-on, or whether he's genuinely unhinged, is unclear. But he's quite a vision - a hunched, cackling scarecrow in a pink NY Yankees baseball cap "for the gay ball players".
Elsewhere we find him shooting a music video, banging a piano, and rehearsing with actors - during which he appears at his most lucid, even tender. More delicious is the fact that, given his determined isolationism, the majority of people don't actually know who he is. At one point he'll tell a group of bemused bystanders (presumably wondering why a film crew is hanging on a madman's every delirious whim) that he's the subject of a series called 'Last Day On Earth' - "they film dying people".
Woe betide those who attract his ire. He berates a fellow driver at the traffic lights from his cab window, "It's my world - and you ain't part of it!" The connection between the man and his characters - wild, sad, or utterly alone - is made explicit; Ferrara, a Bronx native, is keeping it real. On nights like these - at least in his head - he really is the King of New York.
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