There are times during Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York when you can feel a defiant filmmaker pushing back against the moralizing status quo. When he gives voice to trampled idealism and unapologetic carnality. Those fleeting moments of clarity make the rest of this disjointed, unfocused mess all the more painful. Cinema owes a debt of gratitude to auteurs like Ferrara and Gérard Depardieu, but there’s simply no dramatic necessity for this film to exist.
To wax in a state of eulogy about Alain Resnais is to have reviewed his last few features at the times they premiered. With Wild Grass (2009), You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (2012) and the incredibly recent Life of Riley (2014), reviewers understandably noted his age, Resnais being in his late eighties and early nineties, while still producing films containing a youthful charm, his resolution on the festival circuit as firm as ever. Perhaps then, it still came as a surprise that at the age of 91, Alain Resnais had passed, leaving a remarkable six decades of major work behind, rivaled at this point only by 105-year-old arthouse compatriot Manoel de Oliveira. Surprising, yes, thanks to his experimental shock to the film world in Last Year at Marienbad (1961) and Hiroshima, mon amour (1959) being equalled by his recent output, a promising second wind. His death has sparked many remembrances of first meeting Resnais’s challenging work, mostly experiencing boredom, frustration, or sometimes a dull fascination, yet all ending with acceptance, appreciation, and veneration.