VENICE, Italy – Colombian moviemaker Ciro Guerra presents “Waiting for the Barbarians,” an adaptation of J.M. Coetzee’s novel, in the 76th edition of the Venice International Film Festival.
The drama, starring Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson, shows the story of the administrator of an isolated border settlement – in an unnamed empire – who is looking for an easy retirement until Colonel Joll arrives to place to report the activities of the barbarians.
“At the beginning, it was like an allegory from a land far away in a distant time, and during the process of making the film it started feeling less and less as an allegory,” Guerra said.
“It felt more and more like the present day.
“It feels more a story of today and here.”
American actor Johnny Depp is one of the stars of the movie.
“I agree exactly with Ciro,” Depp said.
“It felt relevant to today in many ways in a lot of different places in the world. Power becomes power and who decides, who follows in that?”
Asked for the differences between the end of the film and the end of the novel, Ciro said that what the spectator sees in the film is complete uncertainty.
“The film takes a different stand from the novel in many ways, because the only way to bring a novel to the screen is to betray it in some way,” Ciro added.
“It has to find its own language for the here and now and also for the language of cinema.
“The novel is really profound in how easy is to point the finger at the other and how hard it is to point it at yourself.”
Guerra’s first two feature films, “The Wandering Shadows” (2004) and “The Wind Journeys” (2009), were selected in many international film festivals, including Cannes, Toronto, San Sebastian and Havana.
In total, both movies received more than 40 international awards and are acknowledged as two of the greatest Colombian films of all time.
In 2015, Guerra was awarded Director’s Fortnight Prize in Cannes with Embrace of the Serpent.
He also became the first Colombian film to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.