Italian Contemporary Film Festival 2013: Educazione Siberiana (2013)
Educazione Siberiana, directed by Italian Gabriele Salvatores, is a drama based on a memoir about growing up as a member of the Urka community in the small republic of Transnistria. If by drama they mean that the plot will be nonsensical and full of holes, then they’ve hit the nail on the head.
In Educazione Siberiana, John Malkovich, Oscar nominee, award winner, and all around good guy (see the link regarding the recent story whereby he saves a man’s life in Toronto by sacrificing his expensive scarf) plays the patriarch of a crime family in ethnic Siberia. He spends the majority of his screen time in his typecast role as a tough guy, as he imparts tough love to his young charges via a funny accent and a thick dose of metaphor. In a supporting role is newcomer and young Steve Yzerman lookalike Arnas Fedaravicius, who plays the role of Malkovitch’s earnest grandson Kolyma. Also in a supporting role is Vilius Tumalavicius (who by the way bears a strong resemblance to fellow thespian Breckin Meyer) who plays the role of Gagarin. The plot follows the diverging paths of Kolyma and Gagarin as they age. In their youth they are blood brothers, however as the years pass by one goes to the dark side, while the other follows the straight and narrow. In the end, they reunite for a conclusion that one could easily predict.
What does a movie about gangsters in Siberian Russia have to do with Italian culture (this seemed to be a strange selection for an Italian cultural film festival)? Why are all of these characters speaking English with a generic foreign accent when they should be speaking Russian? Who is helping John Malkovich make career decisions? Rather than being captured by the plot of Educazione Siberiana, I found myself preoccupied with these aforementioned questions as I suffered through an unfortunate journey through the Siberian Russian underworld.
Educazione Siberiana screened at the Italian Contemporary Film Festival 2013. For more information about this festival, visit http://www.icff.ca.
A Gallery of Images from Educazione Siberiana