10 · 25 · 19

Waiting for the Barbarians, by Ciro Guerra, was presented at the 17th FICM

By: Gustavo R. Gallardo

The film Waiting for the Barbarians (2019) by Colombian filmmaker Ciro Guerra (Pájaros de verano, 2018), was presented at the 17th edition of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM).

Waiting for the Barbarians is the first film that the filmmaker shoots in English and is based on the homonymous novel by Sudafrican writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003, J. M. Coetzee, guest of honor at the FICM.

Olga Segura, Ciro Guerra, Daniela Michel, Cuahutémoc Cárdenas Batel

Olga Segura, Ciro Guerra, Daniela Michel, Cuahutémoc Cárdenas Batel

Starring Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson and Gana Bayarsaikhan, Waiting for the Barbarians addresses questions raised by a Magistrate about the legitimacy of imperialism when he sees that imperial soldiers torture and kill the barbarians they find on their way. After this, he begins to take care of a young barbarian who has been blinded by the tortures suffered.

Accompanied by producers Michael Fitzgerald and Olga Segura, as well as Festival director, Daniela Michel, the filmmaker had a conversation at the José Rubén Romero theater in which he said that when he read the novel he felt strongly connected with her “and John Maxwell Coetzee makes a formidable adaptation of his own work. It is a very visual novel, easy to adapt to the cinematic language.”

Michael Fitzgerald, for his part, commented that the filming project began 30 years ago: “Directors arrived and left; money came and left. Until Coetzee recommended Ciro to direct it and he loved the idea. Coetzee gave his opinions if we asked in a media (cinema) that is not his; a novel can’t be adapted but it can reproduce the emotions felt when reading a novel.”

In her participation, Olga Segura talked about those 30 years of filming during which the project has matured: “Although it was a collaborative work, having someone with so much experience as Crispian Sallis (artistic director) was really good.”

Armchair unveiling and film presentation

Filmmaker Ciro Guerra, writer John Maxwell Coetzee, and producers Michael Fitzgerald and Olga Segura paraded on the red carpet along with the FICM president, Alejandro Ramírez vice president Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Batel, and director Daniela Michel.

Daniela Michel

Daniela Michel

Later, both Guerra and Fitzgerald unveiled their armchairs in room 4 of Cinépolis Morelia Centro: “They should cross out mine and write Coetzee; it would look better,” said Fitzgerald.

“It is an honor to be here, with Michael and Coetzee, besides all of you; I think this is the most beautiful presentation for one of my films,” commented Guerra.