After two plates of lasagne, we take a walk around the neighborhood. The director points out locations for his late-eighties gang flick China Girl and recalls trying to shoot inside the then-derelict police headquarters on Centre Street. (“The place was full of guard dogs—and they didn’t feed them!”) Accepting greetings from fans, Ferrara explains his new project. He says he’s lined up Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Adjani for a movie inspired by the Manhattan misadventures of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
It’s not a docudrama. The scenario has elements of Clinton, Berlusconi, and even Weiner, but the director whom the French call l’ange noir du cinéma américain is clearly fascinated by the man the New York Post dubbed “Pepe le Pew.” How about the incredible coincidence that DSK’s fateful encounter with chambermaid Nafissatou Diallo took place in the very same Sofitel room where Ferrara says he shot New Rose Hotel? And as with that movie, Ferrara sees signs of a setup. He points out that DSK ran the IMF as a leftist and had plenty of enemies among the plutocratic .001 percent. There’s a political story for sure, but mainly the Black Angel is drawn to Strauss-Kahn’s addictive personality.
Ferrara is unsurprised by recent allegations of Strauss-Kahn’s involvement with hooker-staffed orgies in France. “I know guys like that—they’re into sex. He’s a total sex slave, but that’s between him and his wife. With all the stuff I’ve done, I should cast the first stone?” It’s a Catholic question and a Jewish delivery. The once and future King of New York laughs and bounds down the stairs into the Prince Street station, back into our collective underworld.