FNC 2020: Siberia (2020)

Siberia (2020)

Director (and co-writer): Abel Ferrara

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Christina Ferrara, Simon McBurney, Dounia Sichov

Abel Ferrara (King of New YorkBad Lieutenant) is back in a big way, setting his latest, a psychoanalytic nightmare — think Tarkovsky and Lynch in a boat crossing the Styx — in a Siberian dreamscape where Willem Dafoe offers refuge to visitors. – FNC 2020

Being unfamiliar with a lot of Abel Ferrara’s work other than Body Snatchers (review, which I watched in the early days of the blog and early days of writing movie reviews so its not really insightful) and a little more familiar with Willem Dafoe’s work (who I do think is fairly underrated as an actor), Siberia was an abstract visual feast that dived into some pretty bizarre segments.

Visually, Siberia is a treat both in its setting in the middle of isolated Siberian winterscape starting off at an inn run by Willem Dafoe’s character who gives refuge to people passing where he doesn’t understand what they say most of the time and quickly moving through this wintery land via dog sled on a journey to an unknown destination and landing in some caves and other interesting places leading to deserts and such. I already said it before, its really out there and because of that, its easy to get lost but somehow, I feel like its meant to reflect on this character of Willem Dafoe as he moves through these scenes reflecting on this own life and whatever feelings that he’s getting as it blends into the different places that he is. The imagery, the atmosphere and the cinematography is fantastic even if I might not have quite understood everything that was going on. In fact, all those elements together crafts what it describes as a nightmare which I do agree with as a lot of it is very unsettling even sometimes in how its scripted and the dialogue.

Willem Dafoe does grab this character, Clint in a rather mesmerizing way. He fits into this role in a fairly convincing fashion molding, facing each blend of reality and hallucination into this interesting character going through different dilemmas (I’m not sure if that’s the right word to use here). In some scenes, it feels like his character is having this confrontation with himself and there’s something very intense here that needs to be understood under all the abstract elements. There is a limited amount of dialogue going on and yet in a very subtle and subconscious way, we do know a lot more about Clint’s character by the end.

While Siberia might not be exactly my cup of tea, it sure seemed like in all the oddities and bizarre nightmares, there is something ripe for discussion about human relationships and Clint’s character and the depth of each of the scenarios of what is reality and hallucination because it does jump from different climates and it does feel disjointed without fully understanding this whole movie. Siberia is a tough movie to talk about because of how unusual everything is but after having a few chats with others who are more familiar with Abel Ferrara’s work, it does seem to be right on track with his style (which is something I’m going to explore further and hopefully come back to follow-up with a better understanding). If Ferrara’s work is something that you enjoy, this might be one to check out especially since I did appreciate the cinematography and Dafoe’s performance. On a final note though, I might not be the best person to vouch for this movie at this point but Siberia is unique, that point I am absolutely certain of.

*Siberia is currently available on Festival du Nouveau Cinema that runs until October 31st, 2020*

Body Snatchers (1993)

Remember a month or so back, I did the Shitfest and I contributed Bad Moon(check the review over at The IPC right HERE)? Well, my boyfriend decided that it was time to go through the rest of that 4 movie pack.  Next 3 reviews will be on those.  He didn’t really care which one he plopped in so we ended up with Body Snatchers as our first pick.  At the time I’m writing this, I’ve already finished up all the movies and hoping that I don’t mix them up…

body snatchers posterDirector: Abel Ferrara

Cast: Terry Kinney, Meg Tilly, Gabrielle Anwar, Billy Wirth, Christine Elise, R. Lee Ermey, Forest Whitaker

Steve Malone (Terry Kinney) is a researcher for the government to check the quality of the area to make sure there isn’t any contamination in the water and no hazardous materials in the environment.  This leads him to the next destination with his second wife Carol (Meg Tilly), his 17 year old daughter Marty (Gabrielle Anwar) and youngest son Andy.  Before arriving, Marty is attacked at the gas station by a crazy man warning her that something attacks in their sleep.  Marty hates having to move there in those circumstances until she befriends Jenn Platt (Christine Elise), the daughter of the General Platt (R. Lee Ermey), the man that runs the base and her group of friends, especially Tim (Billy Wirth).  While her father is approached by Major Collins (Forest Whitaker) with abnormal questions, he starts seeing weird issues occur among the staff and eventually they realize that the majority of the base has been replaced with alien clones. How can they get out of this mess?

Marty and Tim

Marty and Tim

In all honesty, I had zero hope for this one after how bad Bad Moon was.  With zero expectations, this one was okay.  Its a sci-fi horror thriller genre.  I didn’t really find it very scary but it was somewhat weird.  There were parts that didn’t make sense and those alien things were really funky.  My boyfriend named it Squeaky Poo-Poo.  So yeah…just to give you an idea of what it was.  I couldn’t find a picture of it online but yeah, they weren’t very well done in the first place.

Body Snatchers

“Where you gonna go? Where you gonna run? Where you gonna hide?”

Meg Tilly’s snatched Carol Malone’s character was probably the most early on transformation with her walking out all naked and stuff.  Plus, she was super eerie with her tone of voice and whatnot.  This was just a very low-budget move in general with some pretty bad effects (although this is kind of old, so its expected).  Everyone is alright in their roles.  The only actor I knew going in was Forest Whitaker and I was thinking that it can’t be bad if he’s in it.  Seriously, he did pretty good as the paranoid Major Collins…his stupid actions in that scene below was not his fault.

Major Collins by Forest Whitaker

Major Collins by Forest Whitaker

All in all, my issues weren’t with the characters but the script.  Some things just didn’t make a whole lot of sense and I was like, “Why are you doing that?” all over the place. Like up there, I was like “SHOOT, YOU RETARD!” Apparently you don’t shoot when you have a gun in your hand and your enemies are approaching to take over your body.  Even though the movie was alright, the ending was the usual bad wrap-up. Although, in all fairness, I had a good laugh at the last “surprise” twist.  I saw it a mile away but how they did it was just the absolutely laugh-out-loud moment.  And oh, did we laugh…haha! I’m laughing now, sorry, just can’t resist.  Even the thought of it is hilarious!

Overall, not a bad movie.  The concept was alright, the design and effects a bit lacking (but maybe not for 90s quality), the cast was okay, the story was a bit illogical here and there.  Thats about it.  You tell me if that interests you.  If its your thing, there are two naked chicks in here, no screenshots though..sorry about that.  Plus, you get to laugh at some scenes because of its stupidity or bad set-up.

It didn’t make me bang my head on the table, thats already a plus for me 🙂

I was checking out the page and there are these movies called Invasions of the Body Snatchers? Does anyone know if its related in any way? Is this a remake? Any ideas?