ReFocus: The Films of Abel Ferrara
Edited by Florian Zappe
Edinburgh University Press
Series Editors: Robert Singer, Gary D. Rhodes, Frances Smith
Over his four-decade long career, Abel Ferrara has built himself a reputation of being one of the most audacious and unconventional filmmakers in contemporary cinema. After his beginnings in the exploitation circuit of late 1970s he developed to become one of the central figures in the ‘indie’ wave of the 1980s and 90s and is by now a frequent guest at the leading international film festivals in Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Locarno.
Ferrara’s unique career covers the entire cinematic spectrum from grindhouse to arthouse but has seldomly been at the center of scholarly attention. The prospective collection of essays (planned to appear in the ReFocus series at Edinburgh University Press) aims to close this gap by offering a comprehensive critical survey of the director’s multi-faceted oeuvre covering his narrative features as well as his documentaries and his work for television.
In order to ensure a broad range of methodological, theoretical, historical or philosophical perspectives on Ferrara’s work, scholars of film studies and related fields such as cultural studies, screen and media studies, or philosophy are invited to submit a short abstract (approx. 300 words) for essays to be included in the collection. The contributions may concern (but are certainly not limited to) the following topics:
- Analyses of individual films directed by Ferrara such as The Driller Killer (1979), Ms. 45 (1981), Fear City (1984), King of New York (1990), Bad Lieutenant (1992), Body Snatchers (1993), The Addiction (1995), The Funeral (1996), New Rose Hotel (1998), Mary (2005), 4:44 Last Day on Earth (2011) or Siberia (2020)
- The director’s lesser-known television work like the Miami Vice episodes “The Dutch Oven” and “The Home Invaders” (1985) or TV movies such as The Gladiator or Crime Story (both 1986)
- Ferrara as a documentary filmmaker: Not Guilty: For Keith Richards (1977), Chelsea on the Rocks (2008), Napoli, Napoli, Napoli (2009), The Projectionist (2019) or Sportin’ Life (2020)
- Recurring philosophical themes in Ferrara’s films: religion and spirituality, individualism, identity, conformity, creativity
- Ferrara in the context of the politique des auteurs (and its critics)
- Representations of race, class and gender in Ferrara’s films
- Ferrara’s cinema in the context of genre and genre theory
- Ferrara’s relationship to Italy, both with regard to his Italian-American heritage as well as his ‘Italian’ films like Pasolini (2014), Tommaso (2019) or Zeros and Ones (2021).
Please send your abstract (300 words) and a short bio-bibliographical note to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 31, 2021.