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Siberia – Abel Ferrara

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #6. Siberia – Abel Ferrara

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #6. Siberia – Abel Ferrara


We’ve been waiting quite some time for the latest narrative feature from Abel Ferrara, who has been struggling to get financing for his project Siberia, inspired by several items (including Carl Jung’s Red Book) since 2015. After a failed Kickstarter campaign, Ferrara’s project was announced as securing funding in May of 2018 courtesy of Italian indie company Vivo Film (headed by Marta Donzelli and Gregorio Paonessa , also responsible for Nico, 1988) and German production company Maze Pictures through German producers Phillip Kreuzer and Jorge Schulze. In late 2016, Italian news media sources announced Nicolas Cage and Isabelle Huppert would be part of the supporting cast, although whether this is still true remains to be seen, even as the cast names are still mentioned in conjunction with the project in Italy. However, Ferrara alum Willem Dafoe remains listed as the integral lead. While Ferrara released a pair of documentaries in 2017 (Alive in France; Piazza Vittorio), and has also announced plans for a doc project concerning Italian monk Padre Pio, his last narrative features were Pasolini (which competed in Venice) and Welcome to New York, both 2014. Ferrara has been in the Cannes competition once (1993’s Body Snatchers), but has competed five times for Venice’s Golden Lion, winning the Special Jury Prize in 2005 for the Juliette Binoche headliner Mary.

Gist: Described by Ferrara as a mix between The Odyssey and Alice in Wonderland, the film is about one man’s introspective voyage while in an isolated mountain cabin. Memories and dreams coalesce into what also partially become a portrait of actor Willem Dafoe playing a character named Clint.

Release Date/Prediction: With Vivo Films and Match Factory on board, it was announced Mexican screenwriter Julio Chavezmontes (who won a Screenplay award at Sundance for Time Share, 2018) was in talks for adapting the screenplay, but those duties went to Ferrara and Chris Zois (who appeared in Welcome to New York) as a co-scribe. As of summer 2018, filming was announced as being scheduled for February 2019 in Bavaria. Considering the Rome-based Ferrara’s track record in Venice, we expect to see, without further production delays, a return to Ferrara in competition at Venice 2019.


Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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