Film ponders what would we do on last day of Earth?

Wed Sep 7, 2011 8:38am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - Director Abel Ferrara ponders how we would behave knowing death was coming to us all in an environmental disaster in "4:44 Last Day on Earth," his latest film starring Willem Dafoe.

The movie, one of 23 in the main competition at the Venice film festival, has its world premiere Wednesday as the annual cinema showcase enters the final stretch ahead of Saturday's awards.

In the film Dafoe plays Cisco, a successful actor, while Shanyn Leigh portrays his partner, an artist, in the actress's first lead role.

The couple have sex, eat, cry and bicker as 4.44 a.m., the time when everyone knows the end will come, gets closer.

Rather than reflecting the shock and panic of first learning of Earth's fate, the movie is set instead when people have accepted what awaits them.

Ferrara, who has worked with Dafoe before on "Go Go Tales" and "New Rose Hotel" and is most famous for 1992's "Bad Lieutenant," said the device made the movie more universal.

"We all know we're going to die every moment of every day," he told reporters after a press screening of the movie in Venice. "What you do in the meantime is what life is all about."

News footage, including a real interview by environmental campaigner and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, makes clear that the cause of Earth's demise is man-made.   Continued...