Film at Lincoln Center and Cinecittà announce “Marco Ferreri: Beyond the Absurd,” a retrospective of the Italian filmmaker’s work running from June 9 through 22, with many films presented on 35mm. 

Tickets are now on sale!

Marco Ferreri was simply the most punk Italian filmmaker of his generation. A cine-provocateur of the highest order, Ferreri developed an oeuvre that is one of the most eclectic and surprising in all of Italian cinema, composed largely of black-as-night social satires and uncannily affecting dramas. From his earliest features—produced in Spain—to the vital skewerings of the European bourgeoisie he made upon returning for a long, prolific run in the Italian film industry (such as the 1969 Dillinger Is Dead and the 1973 La Grande Bouffe), Ferreri’s films take a delirious and critical view of the times in which he lived and worked and remain some of the funniest, darkest, and most thought-provoking works of their era. Join Film at Lincoln Center and Cinecittà for a rare opportunity to spend time with Ferreri’s tales of ordinary madness in this extensive career retrospective of one of world cinema’s most indelible enfants terribles

Highlights include Ferreri’s third feature The Little Coach, starring the famous comic actor José Isbert, which established young Ferreri as a European master of black humor; The Ape Woman, which underwent harsh censorship and is now presented with its three different endings: the one dictated by Italian censorship, the one provided by the French producers, and the one that Ferreri and his accomplice and co-writer, Rafael Azcona, had written; The Man with the Balloons, the virtuoso depiction of a sudden fall into the absurdity of life, starring a flamboyant Marcello Mastroianni at his best; Dillinger Is Dead, a mix of pop art and existentialist philosophy and one of Ferreri’s most famous films; La Grande Bouffe, one of Ferreri’s signature films, which is best remembered for causing one of the biggest scandals of the Cannes Film Festival but whose public success made it an immediate cult classic; Bye Bye Monkey, Ferreri’s first film shot in the United States, starring Gérard Depardieu and Marcello Mastroianni as two men trying to cope with the decline of man and the rise of woman; and the 1980 Berlinale Silver Bear–winning film Seeking Asylum, one of Ferreri’s gentlest films, starring Roberto Benigni as a kindergarten teacher who falls in love with the mother of one of his students.

Organized by Florence Almozini and Dan Sullivan of Film at Lincoln Center and by Camilla Cormanni and Paola Ruggiero of Cinecittà. Co-produced by Cinecittà, Rome. Film descriptions by Gabriela Trujillo, author of Marco Ferreri: Le cinéma ne sert à rien (Capricci, 2021).

Cineteca di Bologna; Archivio Storico del Cinema Italiano; Cinémathèque Française

Tickets are now on sale. Tickets are $17 for the General Public; $14 for Students, Seniors, and Persons with Disabilities; and $12 for FLC Members. See more and save with a 3+ Film Package (discount automatically applied in cart). Limited $99 All-Access Passes and $69 Student All-Access Passes also available.

We’re excited to introduce a dinner and a movie combo with our Italian programming this June, including “Marco Ferreri: Beyond the Absurd.” For $30, receive one ticket to a Marco Ferreri screening and a select menu item at Café Paradiso, located in FLC’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. Learn more here.

All films will screen at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th St.).

The Little Coach
Marco Ferreri, 1960, Spain, 85m
Spanish, French, and German with English subtitles

The Little Coach.

Madrid in the 1950s. The cruel tale of a misunderstood old man who wants to buy an electric scooter for hanging around with his disabled friends. But he appears to be too healthy for that option, so his doctor and kids try to convince him to give up the whimsical idea. How far will he go? Starring the famous comic actor José Isbert, The Little Coach is Ferreri’s third feature, and the last he directed under the Franco regime in Spain. The film established young Ferreri as a European master of black humor, but issues with the Spanish regime’s censorship forced him to flee back to his native Italy.
Saturday, June 10 at 1:00pm
Tuesday, June 13 at 1:30pm

The Conjugal Bed
Marco Ferreri, 1963, Italy/France, 85m
Italian with English subtitles

The Conjugal Bed.

In the shadow of the Vatican, charming and well-behaved newlywed Regina (Marina Vlady) wants to have a baby. Alfonso, her husband, once a roistering singleton, has to do his marital duty for as long as it takes—or perhaps until his death do they part. Starring Ugo Tognazzi in a spry first appearance in Ferreri’s films, The Conjugal Bed is an implacable parable about maternal desire as dictated by society and religion to all women, especially in opposition to joyous sensuality. The film experienced fierce censorship, but was nonetheless selected for the Cannes Film Festival, thus establishing Vlady as a major actress for her breathtaking performance as Regina. Courtesy of Cinecittà.

Screens with
Il professore
Marco Ferreri, 1964, Italy, 29m
Italian with English subtitles

Il professore.

Ferreri’s contribution to the Controssesso omnibus film is a funny depiction of the kinky, unmentionable little manias of an old bachelor (Ugo Tognazzi) nostalgic for the Fascist era. Courtesy of Cinecittà.
Sunday, June 11 at 8:15pm
Saturday, June 17 at 1:00pm

The Ape Woman
Marco Ferreri, 1964, Italy/France, 116m
Italian with English subtitles

The Ape Woman.

Maria is an extremely shy orphan living in a convent. She is sweet—and almost totally covered with hair. This is why Antonio, a showman and impresario, decides to marry her. He persuades her to take up a life onstage in order to exhibit her exceptional hairiness: she becomes the “ape woman,” supposedly rescued from “the jungles of Africa.” But Maria is not a “freak”—she merely wishes to live as a woman. When love meets exploitation, Ferreri creates an unforgettable polemical tale set in the circus world, with a challenging performance by actress Annie Girardot. The Ape Woman underwent harsh censorship and is now presented with its three different endings: the one dictated by Italian censorship, the one provided by the French producers, and the one that Ferreri and his accomplice and co-writer, Rafael Azcona, had written. Courtesy of Cinecittà.
Sunday, June 11 at 6:00pm
Saturday, June 17 at 3:45pm

The Wedding March
Marco Ferreri, 1966, Italy/France, 100m
Italian with English subtitles

The Wedding March.

A wedding march in four sketches written for the legendary Italian actor Ugo Tognazzi, Ferreri’s longtime collaborator. Four variations on sexuality, the bourgeoisie, and contemporary loneliness. An ambitious piece of bravura and caustic humor, The Wedding March covers the major issues of love, fidelity, conjugal boredom, and inflatable dolls with an iconic actor at the top of his talent. Censored by the Italian authorities, the film had a very confidential release. Courtesy of Cinecittà.
Tuesday, June 13 at 3:30pm
Sunday, June 18 at 2:00pm

The Man with the Balloons
Marco Ferreri, 1968, Italy/France, 85m
Italian with English subtitles

The Man with the Balloons.

One evening, a young, elegant, and successful industrial manager finds himself looking for a precise piece of information: How much air can a balloon contain? He will seek the answer through the night, as this apparently odd question becomes a desperate quest that reaches an unexpected metaphysical level. An enigmatic and tragic film, The Man with the Balloons is the virtuoso depiction of a sudden fall into the absurdity of life. Mutilated by producer Carlo Ponti, it was released as a short in 1965 under the title Break UpSome parts of the film were then re-shot by Ferreri in color with the help of a small crew. This is the most unfairly overlooked film by Ferreri, starring a flamboyant Marcello Mastroianni at his best. Courtesy of the Cineteca di Bologna.
Friday, June 9 at 8:15pm
Monday, June 12 at 1:00pm

Dillinger Is Dead
Marco Ferreri, 1969, Italy, 35mm, 95m
Italian with English subtitles

Dillinger Is Dead. Courtesy of Janus Films.

Glauco (Michel Piccoli), an industrial designer, comes home one evening to find his wife asleep. As he decides to fix something for dinner while watching TV, he notices an old gun…. Dillinger Is Dead is a contemplative and mesmerizing examination of modernity, and the nocturnal wandering of a man who seems to be on the verge of imploding. In this almost dialogue-free but highly political film, the director revisits the alienation of consumer society. A mix of pop art and existentialist philosophy, Dillinger Is Dead is one of Ferreri’s most famous films—and probably his greatest masterpiece.
Friday, June 9 at 6:00pm
Monday, June 12 at 3:15pm

The Seed of Man
Marco Ferreri, 1969, Italy, 35mm, 113m
Italian with English subtitles

The Seed of Man.

Dora (Anne Wiazemsky) and Cino (Marzio Margine) are the survivors of a plague that has eradicated almost all of humankind. In a post-apocalyptic world, they need to decide whether they should have a child or refuse to repopulate a toxic planet. Cino collects objects from the ancient world and wants to force his consort to give birth. But Dora, faced with the potential to carry a child, refuses to perpetuate a sick humanity. One of Ferreri’s most desperate films and probably his most contemporary one asks a question that still resonates today: Is it right to bring children into a world threatened by ecological and economic chaos? Print courtesy of the Cineteca di Bologna.
Sunday, June 18 at 7:00pm

Marco Ferreri, 1972, Italy/France, 112m
Italian, French, and Latin with English subtitles


Vatican City, sometime in the 20th century. Amedeo (Enzo Jannacci), a young soldier on furlough, wishes to see the pope to tell him a terrible secret. But the authorities of the Holy See try to dissuade him. After he decides to linger, he meets a crazy prince, greedy cardinals, and a beautiful sex worker, portrayed by an all-star cast that includes Claudia Cardinale, Michel Piccoli, Vittorio Gassman, and Alain Cuny. Ferreri built his 10th feature on the remains of a failed adaptation of Kafka’s The Castle. If a cinema of the absurd ever existed, L’udienza epitomized its themes. Courtesy of Cinecittà.
Sunday, June 11 at 3:30pm
Friday, June 16 at 4:00pm

La Grande Bouffe
Marco Ferreri, 1973, Italy/France, 130m
Italian, French, and Spanish with English subtitles

La Grande Bouffe.

Four rich men (Marcello Mastroianni, Philippe Noiret, Michel Piccoli, and Ugo Tognazzi) gather in a magnificent Parisian villa for a gastronomic blowout. They celebrate food, friendship, and art—but, in fact, they have decided to die together. A metaphysical tragedy as well as a physiological farce, La Grande Bouffe is a desperate and melancholic chef d’oeuvre, an outrageous and radical artwork portraying four ailing aesthetes. In spite of its poetic ambition, the film is best remembered for causing one of the biggest scandals of the Cannes Film Festival, where it was ruthlessly jeered. But its huge public success made it an immediate cult classic, to the point where it threatens to overshadow the rest of Ferreri’s filmography.
Saturday, June 10 at 5:30pm
Wednesday, June 21 at 8:45pm 

Don’t Touch the White Woman!
Marco Ferreri, 1974, France/Italy, 35mm, 110m
French with English subtitles

Don’t Touch the White Woman!

General George A. Custer is attempting to repress the Indian resistance, but Buffalo Bill tries to steal the show…. A burlesque and anachronistic revisiting of the Battle of Little Bighorn transposed to the center of Paris and performed by a joyful cast lights the fuse of a glorious icon of American mythology. The political farce of the narrative collides with the real-life transformation of the modern capital, documenting the demolition of the ancient market of Les Halles. This parodic revenge Western film was shot against all odds; if La Grande Bouffe was Ferreri’s biggest success, Don’t Touch the White Woman! was his biggest commercial failure. 35mm print from Cinecittà.
Saturday, June 10 at 3:00pm
Wednesday, June 14 at 2:00pm

The Last Woman
Marco Ferreri, 1976, France/Italy, 35mm, 112m
French with English subtitles

The Last Woman.

Gerard, left behind by a woman who joined the feminist movement, raises his baby alone. He meets Valerie, a young caregiver who will become the last woman, and probably his greatest love. Ferreri’s first collaboration with French actor Gérard Depardieu tells the tale of a man who fears his own desire and makes a radical decision to reassure his partner. Among Ferreri’s most underrated films, The Last Woman is a bleak story of communication breakdown, a tragic romance brought to life by two of the most talented and beautiful actors of this era of European cinema, Ornella Muti and Depardieu. 35mm print from Cinecittà.
Sunday, June 18 at 4:30pm
Wednesday, June 21 at 6:00pm

Bye Bye Monkey
Marco Ferreri, 1978, France/Italy, 35mm, 114m

Bye Bye Monkey.

New York City, a bleak season. Gérard Lafayette finds a young monkey by the seashore, and decides to raise him as his own child. Ciao maschio (literally “Goodbye, Male”) is the Italian title of the first film shot in the United States by Ferreri with two of his emblematic actors: the young Gérard Depardieu and an aging Marcello Mastroianni. In this tale of two men trying to understand the world in which they live, Ferreri seems to acknowledge the death of all male figures and the rise of feminine characters stronger than ever. 35mm print from Cinecittà.
Saturday, June 10 at 8:30pm
Wednesday, June 14 at 4:30pm

Seeking Asylum
Marco Ferreri, 1979, Italy/France, 35mm, 110m
Italian with English subtitles

Seeking Asylum.

Bologna in the cold days of winter. Roberto is a most unorthodox yet talented kindergarten teacher—perhaps because he is still a child at heart. As he tries to help a boy who doesn’t speak, he falls in love with the mother of one of his pupils. Seeking Asylum leans on the incomparable voice and acting of Roberto Benigni and is one of Ferreri’s gentlest films. It earned critical acclaim, winning a Silver Bear Special Jury Prize at the 1980 Berlinale. 35mm print from Cinecittà.
Sunday, June 11 at 1:00pm
Thursday, June 15 at 4:00pm

Tales of Ordinary Madness
Marco Ferreri, 1981, Italy/France, 35mm, 101m

Tales of Ordinary Madness.

Inspired by the short stories of Charles Bukowski. Writer Charles Serking refuses to become an academic by day, poet by night. A drunkard, selfish, and a bit of an anarchist, he wanders around Los Angeles. While doing so, he meets the beautiful and mysterious Cass (Ornella Muti). Ben Gazzara plays a tragic and unbearable poet, a tortured man who refuses to become another cog in the machine of the publishing world. Tales of Ordinary Madness is a radical portrait of an artist, splendidly shot on the West Coast and revisiting some quintessentially Hitchcockian landscapes, as well as an ode to the beauty of Muti, who embodies the fatal despair of an angel. 35mm print from Cinecittà.
Thursday, June 15 at 6:30pm
Monday, June 19 at 6:30pm

The Future Is Woman
Marco Ferreri, 1984, France/Italy/Germany, 35mm, 99m
Italian with English subtitles

The Future Is Woman.

A love triangle: a woman nostalgic for silent films (Hanna Schygulla), a man obsessed with saving trees (Niels Arestrup), and a lost pregnant young woman (Ornella Muti). The film’s somewhat enigmatic title underscores Ferreri’s engagement with feminism after he met and collaborated with two new scriptwriters: actress and director Piera Degli Esposti and writer Dacia Maraini. The Future Is Woman portrays maternal desire and the autonomy of women, as well as the fear of men whose presence feels unnecessary to them. Muti, who was really pregnant at the time of filming, embodies what fascinated Ferreri the most: the sovereignty of women in an exhausted world desperately in need of change. 35mm print from Cinecittà.
Thursday, June 15 at 8:45pm
Monday, June 19 at 8:45pm 

How Good Are the Whites
Marco Ferreri, 1988, Spain/Italy/France, 95m
French with English subtitles

How Good Are the Whites.

A humanitarian organization sends six trucks loaded up with supplies and provisions to combat starvation in the Sahel desert in Africa. The latent grotesquerie of this familiar form of European interventionism is revealed when all the volunteers start to yield to their pettiest, most selfish impulses. The outrageous and incendiary How Good Are the Whites is a ruthless critique of all supposed goodwill deployed by wealthy countries as they exploit and destroy the African habitat.
Friday, June 16 at 6:30pm

The House of Smiles
Marco Ferreri, 1991, Italy/France, 35mm, 110m
Italian with English subtitles

The House of Smiles.

Adelina (Ingrid Thulin), once crowned a beauty queen, has lost her teeth in the nursing home. She falls in love with Andrea (Dado Ruspoli), another patient. Their mutual desire shocks all of the home’s young nurses and employees. One of Ferreri’s most luminous works and one of his last critically acclaimed films, The House of Smiles depicts the sensuality and freedom of a woman and a man in their seventies. Mythical Bergman diva Thulin plays one of the most vivacious and beautiful female characters in all Ferreri cinema. 35mm print from Cinecittà.
Friday, June 16 at 8:45pm

The Flesh
Marco Ferreri, 1991, Italy, 35mm, 90m
Italian with English subtitles

The Flesh.

One evening, Paolo, a down-on-his-luck piano player in a bar, meets the perfect woman, the radiant and beautiful Francesca. They begin an intense love affair, until one day, Francesca decides to leave. The Flesh, a work from Ferreri’s mature period, is his last romantic masterpiece and perhaps the most moving of his essays about mad love. Starring Italian actor Sergio Castellitto and the bewitching, porcelain-skinned Francesca Dellera, this film is an astonishing drama about all-consuming passion, religion, and trust.
Saturday, June 17 at 6:15pm

Diary of a Maniac
Marco Ferreri, 1993, Italy, 35mm, 94m
Italian with English subtitles

Diary of a Maniac.

Benito (Jerry Calà), a middle-aged, half-broke salesman, writes in his diary all the details of his mediocre everyday life, including every subtle alteration of his physical state and his stormy worn-out romance with Luigia (Sabrina Ferilli). He is certain that his diary could become a literary masterpiece one day. Ferreri’s last fiction feature is a disenchanted yet generous portrait of the artist as an aging dandy caught in the turpitude of a dying century. Could it also be a message to future generations who are willing to discover his work? 35mm print from Cinecittà.
Saturday, June 17 at 8:15pm

Nitrate Base
Marco Ferreri, 1996, Italy/France/Hungary, 35mm, 87m
Italian, Hungarian, French, German, and Spanish with English subtitles

Nitrate Base.

The famously flammable nitrate is what celluloid film prints were originally made of: therefore, for the 100th anniversary of the invention of cinema, Ferreri celebrates the incendiary emotions of film audiences through the years. In this very personal and moving homage to the first century of movies, theaters are shown as paradises of the imagination. In this filmic testament, the amazement in the eyes of the audience facing films comes to embody a sort of cinephile manifesto, a tribute to the medium’s enduring capacity to resonate, perturb, provoke, and seduce. 35mm copy from the Archivio Storico del Cinema Italiano – Associazione Culturale ONLUS.

Screening with
Do What Thou Wilt
Marco Ferreri, 1995, France, 35mm, 52m
French with English subtitles

Do What Thou Wilt.

A banquet, a celebration in the tradition of Gargantua, a masquerade, and a reading of one of the masterworks of French literature. This rather experimental documentary was made for French television to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of François Rabelais, and it amounts to an adaptation of the author’s quote concerning free will. Do What Thou Wilt is an expression of absolute freedom by a filmmaker who has nothing left to prove to his audience. 35mm print from Cinecittà.
Thursday, June 22 at 7:00pm