Siberian Education

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Siberian Education
Directed byGabriele Salvatores
Written byGabriele Salvatores
Sandro Petraglia
Story byNicolai Lilin (novel)
StarringJohn Malkovich
Arnas Fedaravicius
CinematographyItalo Petriccione
Edited byMassimo Fiocchi
Music byMauro Pagani
Release date
Running time
110 min

Siberian Education (known as Deadly Code in the United States;[1]) is a 2013 Italian crime-drama film directed by Gabriele Salvatores. It is based on the allegedly autobiographic novel with the same name written by Nicolai Lilin,[2] the pen name of Nikolai Verzhbitsky.[3] The film was nominated to 11 David di Donatello awards, including Best Film and Best Director.[4] Mauro Pagani won the Ciak d'oro for Best Score.[5] The novel by Lilin has never been published in Russia and an investigation by a Russian journalist found that the story was a fabricated hoax by Lilin.[3]

Many of the actors, especially child actors, are Lithuanian. Winter scenes were also shot in Lithuania (instead of the actual Russia). All other scenes were shot in parts of Italy. The movie itself was filmed in English, with Italian subtitles.


Kolyma and Gagarin are two boys in an ethnically Siberian village in Transnistria being raised by Kolyma's grandfather Kuzja. Kuzja imposes a very strict education to the children, focusing on hatred for the Soviet officials such as bankers or the military, which are regarded as enemies. Following one of their robbery attempts against the Soviets, Gagarin is captured, tried and imprisoned. Seven years later Gagarin is freed, but he discovers that his world has completely changed and he does not know how to succeed in solving his problems. Gagarin finally discovers that the ideals of his people have collapsed in the drug trade, so he enters into this new system but he ends up in conflict with Kolyma.



Siberian Education received positive reviews. James Luxford from The National (UAE) gave to the film a score of 3/5 writing: "Sombre and grim, this coming-of-age tale keeps the scale small but the issues big, hinting at wider questions of good and evil in the world, but an inability to offer truly memorable moments creates a ceiling artistically". He also appreciated Salvatores' script and Malkovich's performance.[6] Catherine Brown from Filmink praised the film saying that:" Despite its faults, the film is worth viewing not only for Malkovich's brilliant performance". [7]

The Hollywood Reporter gave to the film a positive review calling it: "[...] a strong piece of exotica". [8]


  1. ^ "Also Known As (AKA)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Malkovich gets a Siberian Education". Belfast Telegraph. 5 July 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Татуированная клюква". (in Russian). 3 October 2011.
  4. ^ "David, boom per Vicari e Tornatore: 13 nomination "Diaz" e "La migliore offerta"". la Repubblica (in Italian). 10 May 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Ciak d'oro al musicista Pagani". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). 5 June 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Film review: Siberian Education". 10 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Siberian Education - FilmInk". Archived from the original on 2014-10-17.
  8. ^ "Siberian Education (Educazione Siberiana): Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 2 March 2013.

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