How would we spend our final hours on Earth? And what does how we choose to die say about how we have chosen to live? In the hands of the inimitable Abel Ferrara (Go Go Tales, NYFF ’07), this thought experiment takes on a visceral immediacy. With the planet on the verge of extinction, a New York couple (Willem Dafoe and Shanyn Leigh) cycle through moments of anxiety, ecstasy, and torpor. As they sink into the havens of sex and art, and Skype last goodbyes in a Lower East Side apartment filled with screens bearing tidings of doom and salvation, the film becomes one of Ferrara’s most potent and intimate expressions of spiritual crisis. An apocalyptic trance film, 4:44 is also a mournful valentine to Ferrara’s beloved New York: the director’s first fiction feature to be filmed entirely in the city in over a decade, and coming 10 years after the September 11 attacks, a haunting vision of doom in the lower Manhattan skyline. –NYFF
Independent New York filmmaker Abel Ferrara became best-known for his low-budget, shockingly violent films that explore the roughest parts of the Big Apple and the darkest reaches of the human soul, with films such as China Girl (1987), his unique version of Romeo and Juliet, generating a devoted following. Ferrara was born in the Bronx, but spent most of his childhood in Peekskill, NY, where he met the two young men who would eventually become his primary screenwriter (Nicholas St. John) and occasional consultant (John McIntyre). As boys, they would play around with 8 mm cameras. In the mid-‘70s, the three reunited and founded Navaron Films, where they produced an adult film. In 1979, they released their most notorious film, Driller Killer, for which Ferrara starred, edited, and wrote the songs under the pseudonym Jimmie Laine. In this movie, a young man goes berserk and begins killing vagrants with a portable power drill. Ferrara continued making low-budget shockers until the late… read more
Everything was amazing about this film except for the lead actress couldn't be more annoying. Could not tolerate her hysteria and crying. We need stronger women in film.
A very bold, brave film that feels more European than American, and which offers a more honest and believable account of world's end than "The Day After Tomorrow." I have a feeling this is a film I will return to often, since it has a nice sense of calmness and affirmation of life.
The French film journal has unveiled their choices for the best films of the year.
Upon the release of 4:44 Last Day on Earth.
Venice! The Biennale! Retrospectives, new films, festival turmoil, art that’s not cinema—all this and more!
As he nearly always does, Ferrara splits the critics.
A look at the posters for the films in the main slate of this year’s New York Film Festival.