Venice Diary: Wild-child Ferrara is in town – but will he be Abel to make his dates?

Abel Ferrara has gone clean. US indie cinema's bard of drug abuse, sleaze and violence has been known in the past to turn up three hours late for interviews – and then promptly fall asleep. The colourful Bronx-born director of Driller Killer, King of New York and The Funeral, is due in Venice later this week for the premiere of his new film 4:44 Last Day on Earth about a couple confronting the end of the world. The word in advance of his arrival is that his own wild days are now firmly behind him. In the press notes for the new movie, he even quotes the Dalai Lama. The publicists are so confident that he's a reformed character that they are scheduling some of his interviews for early in the morning. Whether he'll turn up or not remains to be seen.



Why the axis of evil is DC

The difference between Hollywood and Washington DC? Redoubtable character actor Paul Giamatti, who plays an Alastair Campbell-like political fixer in George Clooney's The Ides of March, pondered this weighty question with great earnestness in Venice yesterday. "Right now, Hollywood is like Candyland compared to Washington. Washington is so vicious now that it makes Hollywood look like a children's park," he pronounced.



Chaos reigns – but that's how we like it

Venice has a makeshift look this year. The discovery of toxic asbestos in the foundations of what was to be the new Palace of Cinema has put that (very expensive) project on hold. The festival site still resembles a building site. The Hotel Des Bains is closed. Films are starting late. No one knows quite where to go. In other words, it's business as usual.

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