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cinemadaily | Dark Side: Herzog on “Bad Lieutenant”

cinemadaily | Dark Side: Herzog on "Bad Lieutenant"

Movie City Indie has a 16-minute clip of Werner Herzog speaking about his upcoming film “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” starring Nicolas Cage. The film is a loose remake of Abel Ferrara’s 1992 controversial cult classic “Bad Lieutenant,” which starred Harvey Keitel as a corrupt New York City cop. On his decision to make the film, set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival this September, Herzog says: “When you look at America at this time, in a way it felt right: do the darkest possible film imaginable.”

For his part, Ferrara has expressed extreme displeasure with the remake. In an interview last year with Filmmaker Magazine he went on record as saying that Herzog “can die in hell. I hate these people – they suck.”

Indeed, Ferrara was on hand this weekend for a special screening of “Bad Lieutenant” at Anthology Film Archives in New York, a fundraiser for struggling video store Cinema Nolita. Spout’s Karina Longworth reports on the event after which Ferrara screened a trailer of Herzog’s film and remarked: “Unfortunately, anyone involved in our film wasn’t invited for that film, but I was told I should be really happy that such great people are ripping off our ideas.”

Ferrara’s “Bad Lieutenant” has also been getting quite a bit of attention recently thanks to a special edition DVD release from Lionsgate.

“Some films become emblematic of the times in which they were made,” writes Brandon Harris at Hammer to Nail to commemorate the reissue. “Other films become emblematic of the times in which you watched them. Few embody both. For me, such a rare film Abel Ferrara’s ‘Bad Lieutenant’ is, as it meets both roles.”

“If I had to choose the most important films of the 1990s, within the top three would probably be Abel Ferrara’s ‘Bad Lieutenant,'” declares Jeremiah Kipp for Slant Magazine. “Not since Martin Scorsese bared his faith in ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ did a film so aggressively contemplate the horror of grappling with body and soul.”

“Between a drunken three-way, a nun getting gang-raped (intercut with Jesus screaming from the cross), a virtual tutorial in how to take heroin, a notorious scene where Keitel harasses a couple of underage girls, and random incidents of gambling, thieving, and drug use, it can be hard to look at ‘Bad Lieutenant’ as anything but provocation for its own sake,” writes the A.V. Club’s Scott Tobias. “But Ferrara’s tale of sin and redemption has a raw, unvarnished power that’s embodied by Keitel’s performance, and the years have preserved it as an equally potent street-level look at a city.”

“A special-edition DVD with bells and whistles has been long overdue, and these extras don’t disappoint,” notes David Fear at Time Out. “Ferrara’s motormouthed commentaries always impress—his unhinged rants on the original out-of-print ‘Driller Killer’ disc are a strong best-ever contender—and though this conversation with cinematographer Ken Kelsch is more restrained than usual, the director sheds much light on his film’s dispatch from the abyss.”

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