A Viper’s Pit

Is-Sriep Reġgħu Saru Velenużi

Directed by: Martin Bonnici

Film followed by Zoom Q&A with Director

Martin Bonnici

Political intrigue and family reckoning collide in this taut drama-thriller adapted from Maltese author Alex Vella Gera’s prize-winning novel. Set across two time periods, the film concerns a (fictional) 1984 assassination attempt on the prime minister of Malta by a family man enlisted into a fundamentalist group, and the life of his now adult son Noel, in 2012, still haunted by the spectre of his vanished father. When Noel returns to Malta for his mother’s funeral, a former associate of his father, who holds answers to unresolved questions, starts Noel down the same treacherous path that corrupted his old man. Bonnici’s engrossing picture, “Malta’s first political thriller” (Times of Malta), was financed by the National Book Council of Malta through an initiative to promote Maltese literature on film.

“Poignant … [A Viper’s Pit] is the new standard for Maltese film productions.”

Lara Zammit, Times of Malta

In Maltese and English with English subtitles
Drama, Thriler
115 min
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[Horák] matches each of the film’s periods to a different style: the 1960s to the Czech New Wave, the 1970s to normalization films, and the 1980s to documentary-like grainy footage. The stylisation enables a fine adjustment of dramatic effects”

(Martin Kudláč, Cineuropa).


  • Bulgarian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards 2018
  • Golden Rose Festival of Bulgarian film: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Critics Gild Award and Audience Award
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