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"Welcome to New York": Once You See It, You Can't Un-See It 

Wednesday, Mar 25 2015
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Based quite explicitly on the 2011 Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, Abel Ferrara's Welcome to New York stars Gérard Depardieu as Devereaux, a French financial bigwig who sexually assaults a Manhattan chambermaid (Pamela Afesi). It's what Devereaux does, being an unapologetic pussyhound who's also on the short track for the French presidency, so he's very surprised when he's arrested and put in a New York jail, since that's not supposed to happen to powerful white men like him. Having already been released in various formats elsewhere in the world, the version reaching American screens has been cut by about 15 minutes to achieve an R rating. Eternal provocateur Ferrara has had a very public row with distributor IFC over this injustice, but here's the thing: Much of that quarter-hour comprises truly icky sex scenes. The footage is now edited down to a more palatable form, though there's still plenty of Depardieu's bulbous naked body in the rape scene and elsewhere. Thankfully, the more interesting drama of the aftermath is intact, including Jacqueline Bisset's performance as Devereaux's wife, Simone, channeling a righteous anger not seen since Beatrice Straight in Network. And if you simply must see Depardieu's O-face, track down the international version, but remember: Once you see it, you can't un-see it.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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