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Blu-Ray Review: Kino Lorber’s Tommaso


Abel Ferrara and Willem Dafoe team up again for the masterful Tommaso. Kino Lorber brings one of the best of 2020 to Blu-Ray.

The Film 

Tommaso continues the fruitful relationship between director Abel Ferrara and actor Willem Dafoe. It may be one of their more challenging works.

Film director Tommaso (Dafoe) lives as an expatriate with his wife (Cristina Chiriac) and their baby daughter (Anna Ferrara) in Italy.  He spends his days developing a new film, doting on his daughter, learning Italian, and going to AA meetings.  Seeing his wife cheat on him with another man sets off a series of events that will lead to a road of darkness… or does it.  Is what Tommaso experiencing a mental break from reality and all just visions in his psyche.  

Ferrara has always been a confrontational director, taking on challenging subjects that are oftentimes unpleasant (see Ms. 45 or The Bad Lieutenant).  Here with Dafoe, they explore the inner workers of a man losing his grip on reality.  A man who is pass the prime years of his life. There is a tenderness and understanding to Tommaso that has become more and more present in Ferrara’s later work. 

It is not that the director never was empathetic in his earlier work, the work lacked a warmth and inviting feeling that Tommaso has.  We see Tommaso’s plights and struggles in his every day.  Dafoe gives the character so much humanity you cannot help but feel something for the man who is craving human connection.  

Tommaso is good in its first ninety minutes, but it is in the film’s last thirty that the film becomes an unforgettable tour de force.  

The Transfer

Kino Lorber’s transfer brings the beautiful intimate photography to life on Blu-Ray.

The Extras

They include the following; 

  • Abel Ferrara interviewed by filmmaker Sean Baker (courtesy of Film at Lincoln Center)
  • Interview with Willem Dafoe (courtesy of Coolidge Corner Theatre)
  • Trailers

The 56-minute virtual/zoom chat between filmmaker Sean Baker with Director of Tommaso Abel Ferrara. Maddie Whittle who works for the Lincoln Film center intros the call. Also joining the call are actresses Cristina Chiriac and Anna Ferrara. With a few technical glitches aside it’s a fantastic conversation. Baker does a great job getting to the making of and process behind the making of Tommaso. Ferrara and Chiriac discuss the improvisational nature, the guerilla-style filmmaking, how it was working with Willem Dafoe. It’s a great conversation.

Is a 34-minute conversation with Willem Dafoe moderated by Mark Anastasio (who curates the Coolidge Theatre in Boston). The Zoom Conversation begins with a discussion of COVID-19 and social distancing in Italy (where Dafoe lives). The actor discusses working with Abel and the shorthand they have after 20-years and 7 films, the improvising, a very specific scene that recalls The Last Temptation of Christ, and much more.

Rounding out the special features are trailers for Tommaso and Pasolini.

The Final Thought 

Tommaso may be Ferrara and Dafoe’s greatest collaboration.  HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATIONS!!!!

Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray of Tommaso is out September 15th

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