Thursday, June 24, 2021

Siberia Review: An Imaginative Dream That I Was Longing To Wake Up From

Willem Dafoe	...	Clint Dounia Sichov	Dounia Sichov	...	Wife Simon McBurney	Simon McBurney	...	Magician Cristina Chiriac	Cristina Chiriac	...	Russian girl Daniel Giménez Cacho	Daniel Giménez Cacho	...	Doctor Fabio Pagano	Fabio Pagano	...	Monk Anna Ferrara	Anna Ferrara	...	Clint's son Phil Neilson	Phil Neilson	...	Woodsman Laurent Arnatsiaq	Laurent Arnatsiaq	...	Eskimo Valentina Rozumenko	Valentina Rozumenko	...	Russian mother Trish Osmond	Trish Osmond	...	Lady in Cellar Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Maria Knofe	Maria Knofe	...	Loft women Cornelia Nguyen Luu	Cornelia Nguyen Luu	...	Loft women Ilham Midjiyawa	Ilham Midjiyawa	...	Loft women Stella Pecollo	Stella Pecollo	...	Demon

Release date: June 18, 2021
Running time: 92 minutes
Director: Abel Ferrara
Writers: Abel Ferrara, Christ Zois
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Dounia Sichov, Simon McBurney 

An exploration into the language of dreams.

Siberia is an art house film through and through.  It has some beautiful, surreal shots of many different landscapes.  It has a complicated story that jumps between many places and times.  And it has little dialogue as Dafoe journeys through various landscapes and dreamscapes.  The film explores dreams, but does so in a confusing manner, one that the viewer will have to pay close attention to follow.  The movie lets Clint (Dafoe) jump between different dreams, nightmares, and fantasies as he looks into various facets of himself.  But what is fun about this film is that Clint's exploration is not all on the darker side.  Some might expect a view into dreams to go into some very dark places, but the movie also balances that with some beautiful, light hearted dreams.  

But Siberia really just feels like a jumble of ideas.  The movie jumps between scenes and sequences readily, sometimes within the same shot.  This might be accurate for how dreams occur but it is difficult to follow.  Additionally, it is tough to tell what the movie is trying to say other than to construct some interesting sequences and confusing scenarios.  The film's dream sequences are varied and confusing, with some sequences involving isolation, death, dark magic, lust, love, and life.  But these are layered next to each other without giving much to the viewer.  And the lack of dialogue is admirable, but also makes it equally tough to follow.  The film has a few languages sprinkled throughout and no subtitles.  This would not normally be a knock from me, but with so little dialogue throughout, additional opportunities to explain or expound would have been nice.  And on top of all of this, the film is very slow.  Some dream sequences linger too long, others just don't seem to get to their final destination, but overall, Siberia does feel a little like being trapped.

Siberia has beautiful shots and goes to some dark places, but the film just doesn't seem to know where this dream is going, and the slow pace made me long for when I could wake up.

Pass on it.

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Siberia is available digitally and on demand on June 18, 2021.  

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