Tag Archives: Abel Ferrara


“I am a form, the knowledge of which is an illusion.” — Pasolini

From the distance of nearly forty-five years since his murder at the hands of a young Roman hustler, the public life and times of Pier Paolo Pasolini subsist like an Italian noir. The country’s “Years of Lead” from the late 1960s through the ’80s were marked by economic precarity, political savagery, and—for the urbane author and filmmaker—personal depression.

“To scandalize is a right. To be scandalized is a pleasure.” — Pasolini

In Abel Ferrara‘s elegiac PASOLINI—finally released after a five-year delay—Willem Dafoe is an uncanny visual analog for his subject. Burdened by presentiments of intellectual futility and struggling to find beauty in lost causes, Pasolini/Dafoe composes editorials, visits friends, gives interviews, and cruises the streets around Termini Station for company. A sense of defeat hangs thick in the air, and in the end the artist’s sense of aesthetics fell through the abyss. (Pasolini’s final film was Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom.)

The other side of Ferrara’s film is his partial creation of the movie Pasolini didn’t live to shoot: Porno-Teo-Kolossal. These sections star Ninetto Davoli, Pasolini’s muse and goofball stud from Arabian Nights, The Canterbury Tales, Teorema, Oedipus Rex, and The Hawks and the Sparrows.


Through June 6.

Laemmle Glendale

2017 North Maryland Avenue, Glendale.

Willem Dafoe in Pasolini. The fllm co-stars Maria de Medeiros, third from top. Images courtesy Kino Lorber.


Eric Marciano—director of The Age of Insects and four other films in MoMA’s collection—reports from the opening night of the museum’s new exhibition CLUB 57: FILM, PERFORMANCE, AND ART IN THE EAST VILLAGE, 1978–1983:
 “The reception at MoMA was stunning! I know that we will never again see that group of people together in one place at one time: Andre DegasDavid IlkuJohn KellyDavid ByrneBianca BobChris TannerAlexa Hunter (Disturbed Furniture), Tessa ChuaBob CarrithersMarty AbrahamsAbel FerraraMichael HolmanScott Covert, Henny Garfunkel, Scott Wittman, Art Labriola, M. Henry Jones, John Waters, Tish & Snooky (Manic Panic), Kenny Scharf, MoMA curators Ron Magliozzi and Sophie Cavoulacos, and guest curators Ann Magnuson and John “Lypsinka” Epperson were among the many in attendance. (Ignacio Valero—who was covering the bike path attack downtown—and Bill Brovold were unable to attend*)
“MoMA went all out. Truly a deep dive into one of the great scenes that was occurring in tandem with other great scenes. The show reveals an energy and crazy intensity in the art—people expressing themselves in an analog era when it took time to do art. Such an eclectic group came to admire and celebrate the work and reminisce about those vibrant (and dangerous) days. The Lingerie Family painting from The Age of Insects is one of the seminal works, with a video of Frank Holliday‘s eye taking the place of the lost original.”
Two days before the opening, participating artist Richard Hambleton died at 65.
CLUB 57: FILM, PERFORMANCE, AND ART IN THE EAST VILLAGE, 1978–1983, through April 1.
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, 11 West 53rd Street, New York City.
*Bill BrovoldVictoire Taittinger, and Barlo Perry starred in The Jimmy Donahue Story (1982), written and produced by Ignacio Valero and Eric Marciano, and directed by Marciano—a participating artist in the CLUB 57 show.
Ann Magnuson at Club 57, circa 1980. Photograph by Robert Carrithers.