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Waiting for the Barbarians – Ciro Guerra

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #36. Waiting for the Barbarians – Ciro Guerra

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #36. Waiting for the Barbarians – Ciro Guerra

Waiting for the Barbarians

Colombian auteur Ciro Guerra branches out into a high-profile international co-production for his fifth film, an adaptation of South African Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee’s masterpiece Waiting for the Barbarians. Set to star Oscar winner Mark Rylance alongside the likes of Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson, Coetzee’s post-colonial allegory (previously adapted into an opera by Philip Glass) is produced by Andrea Iervolino’s TaTaTu, Olga Segura, Michael Fitzgerald, and Monika Bacardi of AMBI Media Group. Celebrated DP Chris Menges (who has worked with Loach, Frears, Daldry, amongst many others and won Oscars for The Killing Fields and The Mission) is lensing the feature. Guerra’s current film, Birds of Passage (read review), co-directed by Cristina Gallegos opened the 2018 Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes and is his country’s submission for Foreign Language Academy Award consideration. Guerra’s previous entry, 2015’s Embrace of the Serpent (read review), was the first Colombian film to be nominated for the Best Foreign Language Academy Award and took home a prize out of the Directors’ Fortnight. Guerra’s 2009 sophomore film The Wind Journeys was programmed in Un Certain Regard.

Gist: Rylance stars as the Magistrate, a tool of the Empire in an outpost of a small colonial town who begins to question his loyalty.

Release Date/Prediction: Guerra started production in Morocco this past October. Although his past three films have premiered out of Cannes sidebars, we’re expecting his high profile co-production to land in competition at Venice.


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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