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'R Xmas

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Last Updated: 20 January 2021

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'R Xmas

CinematographyKen Kelsch
CountryUnited States
Directed byAbel Ferrara
Distributed byArtisan Entertainment
Edited byPatricia Bowers
Music bySchooly D
Produced byJohn P. Adams Barry Amato Stefano Celesti Frank DeCurtis Cassandra De Jesus Denis Heraud Pierre Kalfon Richard Klug Tony Trimarco
Production companyStudioCanal
Release dateMay 9, 2001 ( 2001-05-09 )
Running time85 minutes
StarringDrea de Matteo Lillo Brancato Ice-T Victor Argo Andrew Fiscella
Written byAbel Ferrara Cassandra De Jesus Scott Pardo

Bel Ferraras R Xmas begins with the following disclaimer: in December of 1993, the Honorable David Dinkins was completing his first and only term as Mayor of New York. Ferrara fans should note that R Xmas marks a return to form for the New York director and, while the film initially feels derivative of his masterful King of New York, R Xmas reveals itself as the most subversive work of Ferraras career. During the film's opening sequence, Ferrara teases us with an old-school view-askew of New York City untainted by commercialism. His camera pulls back and reveals children school play in progress. It Christmas in New York City and the hot new toy on the market is a life-size Party Girl doll. Thus begins Ferraras daring correlation between the commerce of the Christmas season and the world of drugs. A Manhattan couple operate drug ring out of their Flushing apartment. Brancato carefully measures cocaine into packages delicately stamped with TKO insignia by his associates. This entire procedural is scored by Schooly-D, who previously worked with Ferrara on New rise Hotel and Blackout and recently appeared in Asia Argentos Scarlet Diva. Yuletide anthems Schooly-D recycles throughout the film chillingly evoke mournful New York City hiding behind Christmas cheer. Just as Christopher Walkens, druglord from King of New York, makes for an unconventional man of people, Bancatos Husband similarly makes for an unlikely Santa Claus. Ferrara understands the viciousness, pervasiveness and necessity of commerce. Are two women who fight each other over the last Party Girl doll any different than junkies on the street waiting for their next hit? Way before Guiliani began driving sex shops into poor neighborhoods and away from his Disneyfied New York City, Ferraras King of New York daringly evoked the positive effects of drugs on communities Guiliani would describe as morally compromise. In R Xmas, Ferrara seemingly challenges the meaning of legitimacy. For de Matteos Wife, only thing worse than losing her husband to Ice-Ts Kidnapper and his ilk is thinking that her daughter will have to drop out of private school should they cease their drug operation. This is the best Christmas ever, said the little girl, oblivious that her father had nearly lost his life the night before. Bleeding heart liberal, yes, but Ferrara, no matter how actively hes playing role of guttersnipe, direct with moral ambiguity that is quintessentially his own. De Matteo makes for a very convincing Latina and Ferraras refusal to provide subtitles during key moments in the film only heightens the overall air of authenticity and tension. Ferraras mise-en-scene beautifully emphasize Dominican familys religiosity and pragmatism. Not only do the pervasiveness of Christmas signifiers evoke the sacredness of rituals, but they also emphasize de Matteos divine function as guardian angel. Abel Ferrara is at once a stirring realist and a remarkable formalist.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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