You’ll be forgiven if you thought you’d already seen Abel Ferrara’s id unleashed. After all, his oeuvre is hardly a study in restraint. And yet, Siberia is certainly Ferrara at his most undiluted, drowning viewers in potent imagery and crude poetry drawn from the tormented psyche of one of modern cinema’s greatest madmen.
Forsaking anything approximating a conventional narrative, Siberia instead unfolds as a series of tactical assaults on a viewer’s sense and sensibilities. Stationed in a bar in a particularly inhospitable corner of Siberia, emotionally isolated Clint (Willem Dafoe, Ferrara’s preferred muse/avatar for more than a decade now) dutifully serves up drinks and descends into a dark underworld in which his memories and fantasies coalesce as he embarks on a metaphysical odyssey through a dreamscape populated with naked dwarves, pregnant women, shamans, death camp victims, and doppelgängers.
This is pure cinema that takes no prisoners. Consequently, you’d do well to simply surrender yourself to the darkest trip that 2020 has offered up – either on-screen or off.
"Siberia gets under your skin…" - Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine
Willem Dafoe, Dounia Sichov, Simon McBurney, Cristina Chiriac, Valentina Rozumenko
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Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.
Born in the Bronx in 1951, Abel Ferrara has been making films for four decades. Recent successes include Pasolini, starring Willem Dafoe, and Welcome to NY, starring Gerard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset. Ferrara started on Super 8 in his teens. In the late 70s Driller Killer and MS. 45 led to a cult reputation with films like The King of New York, Bad Lieutenant, The Addiction and The Funeral. Recently he has primarily lived and worked in Italy.
Photo: ©Aude Guerrucci
The King of New York (1990); Bad Lieutenant (1992); Pasolini (2014); Tomasco (2019)