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"From the same highly stylish Euro-film tradition as Run Lola Run (edgy visuals, gritty music), Siberia is a strong, effective Dutch film, blending elements of comedy, romance, drama and thriller in its morality tale about two young men trying to avoid doing the right thing."

SIBERIA

 

fragment

regie Robert Jan Westdijk scenario Robert Jan Westdijk & Jos Driessen, camera Bert Pot

 

Speelfilm, 80 minuten, 1998

met Roeland Fernhout, Hugo Metsers en Vladka Simac

Nominatie Gouden Kalf beste speelfilm 1998

Special Jury Diploma, Sochi International Film Festival

Goof (Fernhout) en Hugo (Metsers) doen niet zo aan moraal. Ze versieren leuke rugzaktoeristes, beroven ze dan en scheuren dan een bladzij uit hun paspoort als aandenken. Maar op een dag valt Goof voor zijn beoogde slachtoffer, de Oost-Europese Lara (Simac) en neemt haar mee naar hun flat.

 

 

 

 

 

siberiad

Reviews: Variety


Dutch director Robert Jan Westdijk, whose inventive, video-shot 1995 debut, "Little Sister," traveled widely, makes a sure-footed transition to a more substantial budget with his sophomore feature, "Siberia." Centering on two charming rogues who seduce and rob female tourists in Amsterdam and the cool Russian beauty who sabotages their operation, this punchy drama perhaps relies a little heavily on visual and editing tricks to create atmosphere. But the volatile dynamic among the main trio and the plot's unexpected turns make it more than robust enough to secure some sales in Euro territories.

Taking full advantage of their location in a major European tourist mecca known for its libertarian attitude toward sex and drug-taking, young roommates Hugo (Hugo Metsers) and Goof (Roeland Fernhout) have made a thriving cottage industry out of befriending backpackers, taking them to bed and lifting their cash and valuables. They tear the i.d. page from each girl's passport as a souvenir.

Romantic Goof's tendency to become emotionally involved causes conflicts with the more coldly pragmatic Hugo, but the scam runs like clockwork until they encounter smooth operator Lara (Vlatka Simac). While Hugo is divesting an American tourist (Nicole Eggert) of her cash, Goof invites the world-weary Siberian babe to stay at their apartment, blowing their cover and angering Hugo.

Westdijk and co-scripter Jos Driessen negotiate the shifting allegiances, power plays and betrayals with the same skill they brought to their previous collaboration on "Little Sister." The drama races through an increasingly complicated series of twists as Lara uses her knowledge to manipulate her hosts, Hugo remains loyal only to himself and good-guy Goof ultimately proves to be less naive than he appears.

While the director overuses B&W and video inserts as well as aggressive editing to give the film a hip, contemporary edge, these devices and d.p. Bert Pot's spry shooting style effectively contribute to its depiction of Amsterdam as a bustling, cosmopolitan center. The driving techno score by Dutch band Junkie XL also adds to the drama's gritty texture. Working confidently in a mix of English and Dutch, the cast has plenty of chemistry, attitude and energy, with Fernhout especially good as the story's most sympathetic, ethical character. Both male leads also appeared in "Little Sister."

DAVID ROONEY

 

 

On the prowl: Hugo and Goof (Metsers and Fernhout) relax between their search-and-destroy missions among Amsterdam's backpacking community.

Review by Rich Cline (Shadows On the Wall)

From the same highly stylish Euro-film tradition as Run Lola Run (edgy visuals, gritty music), Siberia is a strong, effective Dutch film that defies genres, blending elements of comedy, romance, drama and thriller in its morality tale about two young men trying to avoid doing the right thing.
Hugo and Goof (Metsers and Fernhout) are young 20-somethings who have no moral problem with their job: They seek out and seduce backpacking women, then steal their money and the photo pages from their passports. Hugo is a smooth-talking womaniser, but Goof wears his heart on his sleeve, and actually falls in love with each of his conquests. Eventually this causes problems when Goof invites Lara (Simac) home, then decides he wants to use the stolen money to travel home with her to Siberia. But Lara isn't who they think she is. Both of them are in for a few surprises ... and their friendship is going to be strained to the breaking point.

Sheer style and energy make the film work, with its kinetic editing and enthusiastic, physical performances. As the comedy starts to take a dark turn, things get pretty awful, bringing out serious themes that give the audience something to chew on. But it never gets terribly deep; there's no examination of why Hugo and Goof have turned to this freewheeling life of crime. Don't they have any other friends? The entire thing does feel just a bit contrived and manipulative. And some of the flourishes (both visually and in the storyline) don't quite work. But it's all so cool you don't mind. Director-cowriter Westdijk is definitely a talent to watch.

[18--strong adult themes and situations, language] 9.Mar.00
UK release 18.Aug.00