Grandrieux on Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant

Abel Ferrara

Abel Ferrara reading the piece that Philippe Grandrieux wrote about Bad Lieutenant. Then he said very humbly, in a low voice, for himself : “that’s better than the film.

Bad Lieutenant

Sadness and rage and melancholy and abjection and all that fucking redemption and fucking incarnation and fucking resurrection and all this fucking Catholicism which weighs us down or lightens us, it’s all that, which we can no longer bear and which despite everything created the most inflamed cinema, the cinema of Ferrara and Bresson, of Pasolini, those who showed the way and threw above our heads a sky so vast that it scares us, so vast that it fits right into the hand of a “man escaped”, so vast that nothing can complete it if not love and that’s what really scares us, and here’s the Bad Lieutenant caught up in all his shit, in dope and gambling and sex and the betrayal of those he loves, caught up in his own stupidity like all of us, totally alone except for his family and the world around him, here he is so weak and of his body and on his soul weighs the load of every lived day and he cries, here’s the Bad Lieutant on his knees in a Church begging for forgiveness from the one who can forgive him, here he is whacked out and lost and pitiful and magnificent and childlike, stumbling towards the Christ of the Annunciation, the Christ of Paul who taught us that we are under the grip not of Law but of grace, here he is howling and you hear the echo of his voice and here he is approaching Christ, this glorious and bloody body of the Son of Man and he kisses His feet and it’s an old woman, an old black woman who looks down at him absolutely astonished to see this guy miserably rolling on the floor in front of her, but that’s Christ in every one of us, but it’s we who are the bearers of light, but it’s Ferrara tracing without a shadow of doubt this most extraordinary figure of Man made in the image of God.

Philippe Grandrieux – “Bad Lieutenant” Abel Ferrara
Ed. Nicole Brenez. Paris, Wild Side, 2004

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