Magazine article Filmmaker

Letter from Rome

Magazine article Filmmaker

Letter from Rome

Article excerpt

From Italy, Abel Ferrara recalls the New York independent scene of Bad Lieutenant. Interview by actor, writer and director Evan Louison.

For Abel Ferrara, now living and working in Rome, there's no love lost between the renegade director and the New York of yesteryear, the New York of Bad Lieutenant. "Being in Europe, it's very different," Ferrara explains. "We thought we were free then, but it's nothing compared to where we're at now. We're outside the system, working within the European financial community, which includes the socialist brand of government financing and various cultural ministries."

Continues Ferrara, "On Bad Lieutenant"- the cover of Filmmaker's second issue - "we were totally free. The director has to have absolute freedom. Now, you can call that 'contractual final cut,' or you can call it respect for the work. In Europe, in Rome, that's what we call it. It's a respect for what we do. I can't battle for it on a minute-by-minute, day-to-day thing. I can't handle it." it."

Bad Lieutenant, a cinematic landmark of mythic stature - also this writer's favorite film - presented formal innovation and captured intensity that, for Ferrara, was unprecedented. "[DP Ken] Kelsch and I were intent on giving the actors the maximum amount of freedom possible, and it was the first time we had worked that way. We shot in 18 days, and I'm positive there were three or four days where we just tossed everything out. It was truly a labor of love. It's a miracle it got financed, and a miracle we made it"

When asked whether his process has changed with technological advances and new financial models and viewing platforms, Ferrara replies, "It's always the same. …

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