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Video Essay: The Man Between—An Abel Ferrara Double Feature

Two classic stories of self-destruction directed by Abel Ferrara, “King of New York” (1990) and “4:44 Last Day on Earth” (2011).
Abel Ferrara's King of New York (1990) and 4:44 Last Day on Earth(2011) are playing April – May, 2019 on MUBI in the United States.
The world has shrunk around Abel Ferrara. He was once able to shoot every corner of his oft-filmed hometown in movies like Fear City, Ms. 45, RXmas, The Addiction, Bad Lieutenant and King of New York as if it were Babylon. It's darkest corners and towering skyscrapers, its crooked cops, princely dealers and bottom-feeding scum riding an unpredictable wave of fortune and misery. And fittingly Ferrara himself fell prey to that same tide and by the time he wanted to make 4:44: Last Day on Earth, he was no longer the in-demand presence he once was. King of New York and 4:44 are perfect twins, charting the disintegrating mental peace two men with storied pasts. Drug addictions, prison time, lost potential, lost time, both men have to make peace with all of that and the knowledge that plans are futile. Both films are lithe and sensuous and show the variant kinds of companionships forged between those who suspect their deaths are just around the bend. They're both classic Ferrara, studies of self-destruction turned outward, in one case into an apocalyptic event, and they shore up each other's thematic underpinnings, generous films whose dark cores can be used a light to better study the other.

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