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American Cinematheque Debuts First Los Angeles Abel Ferrara Retrospective

The Weeklong Series Will Have Live Scores, A Concert, and Q & A’s With Ferrara

By Dolores Quintana

The American Cinematheque’s schedule for June screenings is even more exciting than normal, and that’s really saying something. After the triumphant return of Bleak Week, the Cinematheque is pleased to announce the inaugural retrospective of filmmaker Abel Ferrara in Los Angeles. Taking place over a week at the Aero Theatre and Los Feliz 3, the residency will showcase 17 of Ferrara’s films, accompanied by rare in-person Q&As, live scores, and a concert featuring Ferrara and his band Flyz, along with Joe Delia and Paul Hipp.

You can find more information and buy tickets at the American Cinematheque website

Born and raised in the Bronx, Abel Ferrara drew inspiration from his Catholic upbringing in New York City and the avant-garde influence of figures like Rosa von Praunheim during his time at the Art Institute in San Francisco. In the early 1970s, he directed a series of experimental short films and made his debut in the realm of adult films. Ferrara gained a cult following with his independent thrillers “Ms. 45” (1981) and “The Driller Killer” (1979), set in his hometown of New York and featuring protagonists on violent rampages that are oddly empathetic. 

Ferrara’s artistry thrives on the fringes of Hollywood, where he skillfully incorporates movie stars into subversive roles. His co-written film “Bad Lieutenant” (1992), starring Harvey Keitel as a corrupt and drug-addicted NYPD officer, earned acclaim and secured a spot on various “Best Film of the 1990s” lists. “The Addiction” (1995), a terrifying black-and-white re-imagining of the vampire myth through the lens of postgraduate academic studies, and “New Rose Hotel” (1998), an adaptation of William Gibson’s cyberpunk story of erotic espionage, achieved cult status, earning accolades and awards for actors such as Lili Taylor and Willem Dafoe. Dafoe, in particular, has become a mainstay in Ferrara’s cinematic universe, appearing in festival favorites like “4:44 Last Day On Earth” (2011) and “Tommaso” (2019).

Ferrara is highly regarded for his reinvention of neo-noir themes and his gritty, dystopian imagery. He often delves into the lives of characters residing on society’s outskirts, either by choice or due to the weight of violence and tragedy. “King Of New York” (1990) revolves around drug lord Christopher Walken and his post-prison endeavors. Films like “Go, Go Tales” (2007) and “Chelsea On The Rocks” (2008) explore various subcultures and their inhabitants. Unafraid to push boundaries, Ferrara’s works tackle themes of religion, sex, and addiction, attracting longtime collaborators such as Ethan Hawke, Forest Whitaker, Victor Argo, Matthew Modine, and more.

In recent years, Ferrara has ventured into international co-productions, including “Siberia” (2020), featuring Dafoe, and “Zeroes And Ones” (2021), starring Hawke. These films delve deeper into the psychological thriller genre, presenting layered character studies that blend external action with introspective explorations of the mind and its significance. This trend continues in 2022’s “Padre Pio,” a biographical film shot on location, depicting the life of the titular Italian priest and mystic.

The schedule of films is as follows:

FRI JUN 9, 20237:30 PM “Ms. 45” + LIVE SCORE / “The Driller Killer”
$20.00 (member); $25.00 (general admission)
Aero Theatre | “Ms. 45” live score performed by composer Joe Delia
Q&A with filmmaker Abel Ferrara between films
Co-Presented by Beyond Fest

SAT JUN 10, 2023 1:00 p.m. “4:44 Last Day On Earth”
$10.00 (member); $15.00 (general admission)
Los Feliz 3 | Q&A with filmmaker Abel Ferrara 

SAT JUN 10, 2023, 4:00 p.m. “Body Snatchers”
$10.00 (member); $15.00 (general admission)
Los Feliz 3 | Q&A with filmmaker Abel Ferrara 
30th Anniversary Screening!

SAT JUN 10, 2023, 7:00 p.m. “King Of New York”
$15.00 (members-only)
Los Feliz 3 | Q&A with filmmaker Abel Ferrara 
35mm print courtesy of Park Circus U.K.

SAT JUN 10, 2023 10:00 p.m. “Zeros And Ones”
$10.00 (member); $15.00 (general admission)
Los Feliz 3 | Introduction by filmmaker Abel Ferrara 

SUN JUN 11, 2023 2:00 p.m. “Tommaso” / “Siberia”
$10.00 (member); $15.00 (general admission)
Aero Theatre | Q&A with filmmaker Abel Ferrara 

SUN JUN 11, 2023 7:30 p.m. “Bad Lieutenant” / “Dangerous Game”
$10.00 (member); $15.00 (general admission)
Aero Theatre | Q&A with filmmaker Abel Ferrara 
We remember the life and career of legendary producer Edward R. Pressman

MON JUN 12, 2023, 7:30 p.m. Abel Ferrara’s “Flyz Concert” / “The Addiction” + Live Score $20.00 (member); $25.00 (general admission)
Aero Theatre | Program begins with Abel Ferrara’s Flyz concert, featuring Abel Ferrara, Joe Delia, and Paul Hipp, followed by a screening of “The Addiction” with a live score by Delia and Hipp Q&A with filmmaker Abel Ferrara after the film. Co-Presented by Beyond Fest

TUE JUN 13, 2023, 7:00 p.m. “Chelsea On The Rocks”
$10.00 (member); $15.00 (general admission)
Los Feliz 3 | Q&A with filmmaker Abel Ferrara 

TUE JUN 13, 2023 10:00 p.m. “Go Go Tales”
$10.00 (member); $15.00 (general admission)
Los Feliz 3 | Introduction by filmmaker Abel Ferrara 
35mm print courtesy of Anthology Film Archives

WED JUN 14, 2023, 7:00 p.m. “New Rose Hotel”
$10.00 (member); $15.00 (general admission)
Los Feliz 3 | Q&A with filmmaker Abel Ferrara 
25th Anniversary Screening!
Print courtesy of the Edward R. Pressman Collection at the Academy Film Archive

WED JUN 14, 2023, 10:00 p.m. “Welcome To New York”
$10.00 (member); $15.00 (general admission)
Los Feliz 3 | Introduction by filmmaker Abel Ferrara 

THU JUN 15, 2023, 7:30 p.m. “Padre Pio” / “Mary”
$10.00 (member); $15.00 (general admission)
Aero Theatre | Q&A with filmmaker Abel Ferrara 
MARY 35mm print courtesy of Anthology Film Archives

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