Battles in Venice...over redemption and whisky...
I canšt understand why WH, a personal favorite, would ever go after
Ferrarašs noir masterpiece...
Montois going for the needle...
Directors fall out over film remake showcased at Venice festival
Let's have a drink and make up, says Werner Herzog, after Abel Ferrara
criticises new version of Bad Lieutenant
guardian.co.uk, Friday 4 September 2009 17.31 BST
Good cop, bad cop Director Werner Herzog with his Bad Lieutenant stars
Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters
It was shaping up to be the film festival's equivalent of a pub brawl, a
bloody showdown between two notorious loose cannons of world cinema.
Yet now, infuriatingly, it looks as though the contest may be resolved
behind closed doors. Herzog took to the stage at the Venice film festival
today in an apparent attempt to clear the air before Ferrara's arrival next
week. At one stage he even went so far as to suggest that the pair discuss
their grievances in private. "We should meet up soon over a bottle of
whisky," he said.
It remains to be seen whether whisky will cool or inflame their tempers. On
learning of Herzog's decision to remake his controversial 1992 drama as a
New Orleans cop thriller starring Nicolas Cage, Ferrara expressed the wish
that the makers of the new version should all "die in hell".
The Oscar-winning director of Grizzly Man and Aguirre, the Wrath of God
promptly shot back, saying that he had never even heard of Ferrara, let
alone sat down to watch his movie. He repeated this claim again yesterday.
"I don't know who he is," Herzog said. "But we will meet soon. I hope that he will see my film while he is here."
Herzog was joined on stage by Cage and Eva Mendes, who also stars in the
remake, entitled Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Both seemed keen
to frame the film as a new work by a great director as opposed to an
overhaul of an earlier film. "I didn't even read the script," Mendes
insisted. "I heard the name Werner Herzog and I said yes."
Ferrara's film cast Harvey Keitel as a degenerate Catholic cop who finds a
form of redemption after investigating an assault on a nun. By contrast,
Herzog's remake jettisons the Catholicism and is lighter in tone. But
according to critic Todd McCarthy, of Variety, the movie lacked the depth
and resonance of the original. "The film is offbeat, silly, disarming and
loopy all at the same time," he wrote.
Herzog proudly took the credit for most of this loopiness, eagerly pointing
out that the eccentric fantasy scenes featuring a pair of live iguanas were
his own invention. "I always like to cast animals in my films, and iguanas
are so stupid and bizarre I just love them," he said. "I don't know why I
did it. But they are the best moments in the film."
Sitting at the director's side, Cage and Mendes smiled. If they were annoyed
to hear that they'd been effortlessly upstaged by a pair of lizards, they
were too polite to show it.
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