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Abel Ferrara · Italy/UK · 2020 · 115 mins · NR · English/ Italian with Subtitles
Awards IMDb78%
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Following a string of documentaries, filmmaker Abel Ferrara returns with Tommaso, his first fiction feature since 2014’s Pasolini. As with that film, Ferrara’s latest is again filmed in Italy and stars frequent collaborator Willem Dafoe in a striking performance.

Tommaso is an apparently semi-autobiographical sketch of Ferrara’s recent life in Rome. The title character fills his days grocery shopping, studying Italian, stopping into a café for a coffee, spending time with his wife and young daughter — Ferrara’s real wife, Cristina Chiriac, and their daughter Anna Ferrara play those roles in the film — cooking, attending recovery meetings and working on his next film project.

Yet Tommaso’s low-key life becomes increasingly clouded by painful visions of his wife cheating with another man, his own fantasies of other women or worries for his daughter’s safety. It seems he is unable to allow himself a life free of drama and turmoil.

The camera stays close to Dafoe for nearly every moment of the movie and he brings a compelling vibrancy to the screen. He somehow conveys both the tranquility of Tommaso’s current life and all that simmers just under the surface. When the character unleashes moments of rage or torment, Dafoe transitions with terrifying ease. As with the film’s final moments, which pointedly recall Dafoe’s role in Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ,” it builds to something unexpected, nearing transcendence.

"If this film were a person, I would risk my life to save it."--

"Tommaso [crackles] with ideas and empathy, as Ferrara's best work always does.”—New York Times

Cast Willem Dafoe,
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