Welcome to New York (2014)

Drama
Jacqueline Bisset, Gérard Depardieu, Drena De Niro, Paul Calderon
Mr. Devereaux is a powerful man. A man who handles billions of dollars every day. A man who controls the economic fate of nations. A man driven by a frenzied and unbridled sexual hunger. A man who dreamed of saving the world and who cannot save himself. A terrified man. A lost man.
  • 17 May 2014 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Abel Ferrara (screenplay), Christ Zois (screenplay Writer:
  • Abel Ferrara Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:

Bad Samaritans4/10
"The economic anarchy of capitalist society is the real source of the evil.‎ The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital, the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organised political society." - Albert Einstein

In May of 2011, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, presumptive French presidential candidate and head of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), was arrested at JFK airport following an alleged assault on a hotel housemaid. Strauss-Kahn denied violence but admitted "inappropriate" behaviour. The civil suit was later settled out of court.

Directed by Abel Ferrara, "Welcome to New York" retells this scandal. It stars Gerard Depardieu as Devereaux (a stand in for Strauss-Kahn), a corpulent corporate-type who spends his days pommelling prostitutes, engaging in casual sexism and gorging on mountains of food. Devereaux, in short, is addicted to pleasure, power and excess. Emblematic of a ruling class which abuses its privileges, exhibits insensitivity toward others and remains protectively cocooned in its ivory towers, Devereaux is shocked when his attack on a lower class black woman gets him arrested. "I have diplomatic immunity!" Devereaux cries.

Ferrara's recent films have all been about capitalism, addiction and their overlapping ills. In "Last Day on Earth" this results in ecocide, in "Go Go Tales" this results in a club owner developing gambling addictions in an attempt to "diversify" and "compete" on the market place, and in "R Xmas" a couple of upstart businessmen find their dreams of upward mobility shattered. In "Welcome to New York", we see the "cause" of such collapses and calamities. Entirely without empathy, self-knowledge, forever unable to distinguish between consecration and rape, and viewing everyone and everything as a possession or commodity, Devereaux is the product of a culture which glorifies and normalises sociopathic behaviour. "I don't have feelings," Devereaux tells a psychologist, "I don't give a s**t about the people!"

"Welcome" is divided into three clear sections. In the first, we nosedive into Devereaux life of debauchery. Here, sex and nudity are presented without a hint of titillation, and all of Devereaux's sexual rendezvous are sketched as something pathetic and hollow. The film's second section then bluntly contrasts a dehumanising prison system with Devereaux's life of privilege, whilst its third and best segment finds Devereaux consigned to house arrest. During this segment, Jacqueline Bisset steals the show as Devereaux's ex-lover.

Though well intentioned, "Welcome to New York" is mostly bad art. The film is packed with cliches, its dialogue is obvious and cringe-worthy, Ferrara's aesthetic is far too literal and the film climaxes with a hokey shot in which Devereaux looks at the camera in a moment of forced and failed profundity. Worse still is Ferrara's disinterest in embedding Devereaux's debauchery within a socio-political context. Ferrara, whose filmography is filled with films about addictions, seems interested in Devereaux only in-so-far as the man is held prisoner by his own body; consumed by consumption. The larger workings of the IMF – responsible for tens of millions of deaths, wars, coups (one currently going on in the Ukraine), the arming of terrorist and far-right groups, indebting countless countries etc – goes ignored. The dubious implication, as with most art which attempts some kind of economic critique, is that our system "works" if only people were a little more compassionate and a lot less greedy.

Incidentally, the IMF's "Independent Evaluation Office" has recently admitted that, quote, "the IMF's advocacy of fiscal consolidation proved to be premature for major advanced economies". In short, the IMF is attempting to portray its recent disastrous policies, which saw austerity measures and bank bailouts occurring in most First World nations, as "blunders", rather than entirely deliberate. Many of these Strutural Adjustment Programs, imposed on countries to serve the interests of creditor banks and mega-corporations, were at the time being opposed by Strauss-Kahn, then the IMF's managing director. Judging by history, in which non-compliant types (Scott Ritter, David Kelly, William Colby, Michael Connell etc) are routinely suicided, assassinated, discredited or slandered, it's possible that Strauss-Kahn was framed so as to install a more malleable director. Time will tell. Which is not to say that Strauss-Kahn isn't a giant sleaze-bag, just that he's small fry. The monster runs deep, and its always sacrificing its own priests to keep the game alive.

5/10 – See Passolini's "Salo", "Eyes Wide Shut" and Ivory's "The Remains of the Day".
A Gauche, Unopinionated and Exhausting Experience4/10
Unable to pick its path between 70's Sidney Lumet, La Grande Bouffe and Marc Dorcel, the catastrophe that this film turned out to be makes you wonder whether Abel Ferrara has really been directing for 40 years. Characters are inconsistent, the editing is awkward and dialog lines are laughable at their best and lighter than air at their worst. Watching this (very) long feature film is similar to listening to an orchestral piece where all the instruments are out of tune. Welcome to New York gives you the feeling that its production has been rushed for some unknown reason, given the technical inaccuracies of the shots, the rehearsal-like performances of the cast and, most of all, the overwhelmingly exhausting pace of the scenes. There are, however, a few interesting moments in the film, like Depardieu's monologue towards the end of the film, or the lights of the film in the couple's home cinema that reflect on Jacqueline Bisset during a quarrel, but they're not powerful enough to save the film from drowning. Abel Ferrara might be a marginal artist, having directed many interesting pictures throughout his career, but no one can defend this film by claiming it's an "exercice de style".
Abel Ferrara is back on form and Depardieu delivers a superb performance8/10
"Welcome to New York" is based on a real-life "scandal" that involved the french diplomat Dominique Strauss-Kahn who was a member of french Socialist Party and also the Managing Director of IMF (Int. Monetary Fund) from 2007-2011 until he resigned due to allegation that he had sexually abused a hotel maid.

- Ferrara's "Welcome to N.Y." hands this affair in a masterful way, that you would find it hard to remove your eyes from the screen even for a second. This is not something Ferrara has done in the past - elaborate a certain real life event to the last detail. And for Ferrara this is just the right kind of stuff, cause he has been provocative for all of his carrier and he knows how to handle this kind of material.

On the other hand, Dapardieu gives one of the best performances of his carrier. He's so convincing as Deveraux that one can say he's the real man (DSK). The script doesn't exaggerate, - written by Ferrara and Zois (who worked previously with Ferrara in "New Rose Hotel"),- it handles the story plain and proper for Ferrara to do his thing behind the camera.

- The best part of the movie is when he (Devereaux) boards the plane and then is asked to step out and the whole police procedure begins. Depardieu feels very comfortable during this complex scenes as does Ferrara, who doesn't hesitate even for a second to show us what the real man experienced.

Ferrara goes as far as to treat yet another situation that Strauss Kahn found him self in. Ferrara's Devereaux after the N.Y. arrest tries to rape a journalist, in real life this allegation happened to Strauss-Kahn who was accused for such an act and is scheduled to appear in court for trial in 2015. Bisset plays Devereaux's wife and fulfills the other part of the story...

- Now i'll try and give you some reason why you should watch it or stay away from it: If you are familiar with the real life story of DSK then give it a shot, you wont be disappointed... If you are not an Abel Ferrara fan then skip it (it will be your loss)... If you want to see Depardieu on one of his best roles he has ever done then watch it, the man was the perfect choice for this role.

Hope this helped.
The shadow of Bresson9/10
Painting used to be a major form of art, as it represented reality through the eyes-and the mind-of the painter, and this act wasn't waiting for the surrealists to invent it as it was inherent in every attempt to represent reality(always an act meaning to link the outside with the inside-reality with perception).Photography and then cinema took over the responsibility of this act, as they both appeared more capable of aiming at the real;meanwhile, a demand for more reality lead to aesthetics(growing in the cinema world like cancer) supposed to emphasize the impression of the real-the worst example of this tendency being perhaps the decay of horror film through the limitless repetitions of camera shaken films that followed the example of Blair witch project- and that impression of the real(always created by manipulating means) became the god of a new world where the demand for truth was believed to be satisfied through the revelation of this reality;that alone was taken as enough to guarantee justice, a remedy to fight all illnesses, racism first of all(which became the top topic of every thinking man), and disillusion as well(the spectators of the contemporary fantasy films laugh at the usually more imaginative means cinema used to use to create its monsters when digital was an unknown word). And then comes Ferrara with his movie, one I wasn't sure I was interested in watching, to remind us of that old painters ethos that used to be trade mark of all great cinema-and still is, in rare cases- painting a real story(more real it couldn't be, and watch here Ferrara is not interested in the subjective element of reality of a Rasomon type)with his palette of pictures,shadows, sounds and edits that refuse to give a dramatic and manipulative tone(compare this with the terrible Gone girl) to the film and create a true work of art that,as all modern art does , is not devoid of meaning, but incorporates the meaning in its form and the austerity with which it gets close to-or keeps a distance from-the characters of the story.So Ferrara, bringing in an aesthetic that reminded me of Robert Bresson, succeeds where Scorsese with his Wolf of Wall Street failed, succeeds even more in giving a cinematic portrait of New York unlike any other, lighting the places in subtle ways and creating poetry out of the ordinary.Furthermore, Welcome to New York is one of the most anticomformist movies ever made attacking political correctness with its power of lack of judgment(although the civilization of moneyworld is surely judged and condemned right from the start)and the thoughts it aims to provoke in all of us regarding the inner truth and the world we are living in.A master film by a director I hadn't appreciated enough in the past.
Something's missing4/10
Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculous mus (The mountain gave birth to a small mouse).

S-K. incident could have indeed given many hints to be pursued in making a decent movie: the interests of the rich and the influent colliding with justice, the sexual dependence of a mature man vs his family, or again loneliness and decadence in modern days. However, the director chose to follow them all at the same time, resulting in nothing more of a collection of sketches, causing the audience some annoyance, not to mention some impatience for the plot to recollect the various topics. Sadly, such hope is to remain unattained, and the movie remains an exhausting prologue of a story we will never see. The lack of pathos or sympathy for any of the characters or stories don't help. One may advocate Brecht's disenchantment of the epic theater, but one would seriously doubt that this was the case.