Image source: Venice Film Festival

LFF 2020: Abel Ferrara Roundtable

Abel Ferrara’s latest film SIBERIA, has been enjoying the festival circuit, including London Film Festival, and you can find our review here. Our Associate Editor Elle Haywood was able to grab a few minutes with the man himself.

Elle was joined in a roundtable by Savina Petkova and Joseph Bullock, who spoke to Ferrara about hues of blue and orange at the centre of the films colour palette, the roots of the film within Buddhism (Ferrara himself has been practising the faith for many years) and the concept of the soul in cinema. As per the new age of Zoom, we faced some mic issues but were able to chat with him about his process of filmmaking.

Elle Haywood: Siberia is compelling to watch, and that allure is driven by watching the film unfold rather than tunnelling too hard into meaning. As the years have gone on, do you find the process of filmmaking more or less seductive?

Abel Ferrara: I find it exactly where I found it when I first started making movies. The same energy, the same vibe; the approach is the same. Obviously, my technique has changed, my outlook on life has changed, my experience has changed, the people around me have changed, but…y’know. Seduction is a funny word.

EH: Are you driven by the same motivations, is it as compelling?

AF: Now that you ask, I’m not thinking about it like that. I’m a filmmaker, I’ve been doing this since I was sixteen, ok. I’m sixty-nine, and I’ve always done it. It’s a thing I do. It’s also the thing I do as a job, to pay my rent, it’s a thing I do if it wasn’t paying my rent. I don’t approach it like it might compel. That’s my thing man, it’s like I breathe, y’know. I do it, it’s my work, I’m not gonna stop doing it. It’s not the kind of gig you retire from, you don’t get old from it. I’m not playing midfielder for a football team. I can do this ’til the day I die. Just don’t feel like dying tomorrow, y’know.

You can just take the virus as a point. All of a sudden, that which you take for granted or could take for granted, but I don’t take it for granted because I’m grateful every day. ‘Cause I know how easily it can be taken away. Not that I imagined this [the virus] happening, but I know plenty of super talented people that don’t get the opportunities that I get. From an early age, I’ve seen men and women, better directors than me, just go by the wayside because of what it takes and the toll it takes. The answer is I’m compelled exactly the same.