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Abel Ferrara’s 10 Favorite Films

Written by on May 31, 2019 

With the U.S. release of Pasolini, the premiere of his new documentary The Projectionist at Tribeca, his new narrative film Tommaso bowing at Cannes, production underway on his next narrative film Siberia (also led by Willem Dafoe), and a MoMA retrospective winding down for Abel Ferrara, it’s been a busy year for the director–but don’t call him prolific.

“I don’t know how prolific we’ve been,” he told Nick Newman in a recent wide-ranging conversation. “What’s happening now is the end result of five years, so it’s not like we kicked back for three, four years, now, all of a sudden—no. We finished Pasolini, we finished Welcome to New York. Two films back-to-back. I don’t know what prolific means. You know what I’m saying?”

To celebrate his don’t-call-it-prolific streak, today we’re highlighting his favorite films of all-time, as voted on in the most recent Sight & Sound poll. Featuring less-discussed work by Ingmar Bergman and Pier Paolo Pasolini, as well as a controversial Ken Russell classic, plus films by Stanley Kubrick, Jean Vigo, Orson Welles, and more, it’s an eclectic line-up. However, he does have one fairly extensive caveat:

“You can’t make films like the films that made you want to make films,” spoke Godard back when most of these films were made and inspired me to try – but why stop at 10? Add ALL the other films of the above directors to the list, plus ALL of the films of Godard, Hawks, Hitchcock, Bertolucci, Scorsese, Michael Snow, Rossellini, the other films of those above and Nicholas Ray, Milós Forman, Joseph Losey, Buster Keaton, Sam Fuller, Stan Brakhage, Woody Allen, Robert Bresson, Sam Peckinpah, David Lynch and and and…

See his narrowed-down top 10 list below.

Cul-de-Sac (Roman Polanski)

The Devils (Ken Russell)

Hawks and Sparrows (Pier Paolo Pasolini)

Prison (Ingmar Bergman)

Lolita (Stanley Kubrick)

Los Olvidados (Luis Buñuel)

Ran (Akira Kurosawa)

Touch of Evil (Orson Welles)

A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes)

Zero de Conduite (Jean Vigo)

See more directors’ favorite films.


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