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No One Wants to Be Saved: Abel Ferrara and the Apocalypse

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.In Bad Lieutenant—arguably Abel Ferrara’s most notorious film—Harvey Keitel refers to Jesus Christ as a “rat fuck.” This may be the most glaring instance of something that is blatantly littered across Ferrara’s forty-plus year career: a cockeyed and knowingly sacrilegious approach to his Catholic faith. A nun is brutally raped in Bad Lieutenant (1992) and Keitel is the man sent to find her assailants. Yet he himself is not free of sin—in his own way, he is deeply morally compromised. In one of the film’s most affecting scenes, he lies prostate at the altar of a church, throwing himself on the mercy of a God he feels has abandoned him. He’s far from an outlier among Ferrara’s protagonists, but he

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