Some indie stalwarts have been around for so long; you’re kind of surprised when you realize they haven’t worked with another indie veteran. Such is kind of the case with actor Ethan Hawke and indie filmmaker Abel Ferrara. Yes, Hawke showed up in Ferrara’s 2008 documentary “Chelsea Hotel,” interviewed about staying in the famous hotel. Still, he’d actually never starred or appeared in any of Ferrara’s many narrative feature-length films, an oddity considering the same paths they often traveled. Well, that wrong is righted in Ferrara’s upcoming film, “Zeros And Ones,” which made its premiere at the Locarno Film Festival this week (read our review), and today, Ferrara just won the Best Director prize at the festival.
We recently spoke to Ferrara on the Deep Focus podcast about his new hypnotic thriller “Siberia,” starring Willem Dafoe. Ferrara actually told us about the movie, set in the aftermath of an apocalyptic siege, and its Locarno world premiere, before it was announced. “It’s a war movie, Ethan Hawke is playing the lead, it’s about an American in Rome,” he said. “It has to do with the pandemic, but it doesn’t. It has to do with war movies, and it has to do with the idea of a city under siege. It’s set in today’s reality, but with a movie [overview], kind of a WWII movie. I kind of approached it like an espionage movie with partisans, collaborators, and a city under siege.”
Shot in Rome during the pandemic last summer, “Zeros And Ones” stars Hawke, Cristina Chiriac (Ferrara’s wife), Phil Neilson, Valerio Mastandrea, Dounia Sichov, Korlan Madi, Mahmut Sifa Erkaya, Anna Ferrara (Ferrara’s daughter).
Here’s the official synopsis:
In the aftermath of an apocalyptic siege, Zeros and Ones follows the American soldier JJ as he navigates a locked-down, murky world of fear, paranoia, and eventual hope in the shadow of the Vatican. A war between history and the future plays out until dawn breaks. A casbah-esque landscape of noir streets, the feeling of Paris at the end of the occupation – but set in today’s post-modern, ancient and unchangeable Rome.
Celebrated indie cinematographer Sean Price Williams (“Good Time“) shot the film, and Joe Delia of Joe Delia & Thieves has written the score. He’s known for his long-running collaborations with Ferrara on films like “Ms. 45,” “King of New York,” “Bad Lieutenant,” “Body Snatchers,” and more. Check out the first two clips and the first photo below (not the first clip is a little bit disturbing and not entirely SFW). Promotional clips made available courtesy of the Locarno Film Festival press site.