Tommaso: Ferrara’s Semi-Autobiographical Drama, Starring Willem Dafoe

Abel Ferrara’s semi-autobiographical drama, starring Willem Dafoe


Credit…Kino Lorber

Willem Dafoe, a longtime collaborator of Ferrara’s, plays the title character.

In the early scenes, he is seen taking Italian lessons, getting an espresso and chatting with the attractive woman who’s making it for him, cooking dinner with the mother of his child, and working on a film script.


We know that Ferrara is going to veer soon into his turf–the darkest corners of human experience–rather than continue to describe a quietly serene domesticity.

Turning point occurs when, one day, while in a park with his daughter, he sees his wife kissing another man. He begins to struggle creatively–in crafting his script–and emotionally–wrestling with his own troubled mind.
He attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, depicted with striking, uncondescending accuracy. and in one, a fellow sums up the movie’s motif, “Anger occupies so much space in your life, there’s very little energy for anything else.”
Running time: 115 minutes.