The director of The Bad Lieutenant teams up with the fearless Gerard Dépardieu for the best, most inflammatory film either has made in years, a lurid tale of excess and obsession inspired by the downfall of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
“The career-imploding misadventures of former IMF chief (and presumptive French presidential candidate) Dominique Strauss-Kahn get filtered through the uniquely lurid prism of director Abel Ferrara in Welcome to New York, a bluntly powerful provocation that begins as a kind of tabloid melodrama and gradually evolves into a fraught study of addiction, narcissism and the lava flow of capitalist privilege…
Although Ferrara and co-screenwriter Chris Zois have changed the characters’ names — more to protect themselves than anyone’s supposed innocence — and tacked on a lengthy pre-film disclaimer, Welcome to New York leaves few doubts about what the filmmakers think really happened on the morning of 14 May 2011, when Strauss-Kahn allegedly forced himself sexually on Guinean housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo in Manhattan’s Sofitel Hotel….
Ferrara is no stranger to drawing great, uninhibited, end-of-tether performances from his actors, especially Christopher Walken (in King of New York) and Harvey Keitel (in Bad Lieutenant and Dangerous Game), and he does much the same with the embattled French star Gérard Depardieu, who’s been more notable in recent years for his own headline-grabbing airplane antics and bid for Russian citizenship than for anything he’s done onscreen. But Depardieu is remarkable here… he charges brazenly into whatever breach Ferrara demands of him …Jacqueline Bisset [as his billionaire wife]… more than holds her own against Depardieu.” — Scott Foundas, Variety