Heralded in Cannes (and declared a “5-star masterpiece” by The Guardian), the stunning new film from modern Russian master Andrey Zvyagintzev (The Return, Elena) is a gripping parable of class, faith and corruption.

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Cast: Alexey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Roman Madyanov, Vladimir Vdovitchenkov
Duration: 141 mins
Country of Origin: Russia

MMature themes, coarse language, sexual references, nudity and violence

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Leviathan

★★★★★
“Magnificent. A new Russian masterpiece. Acted and directed with unflinching ambition… It isn’t afraid of massive symbolic moments and operatic gestures; they live and throb in my head hours after the final credit crawl. So much cinema is content with small fry – minor themes and manageable topics. ‘Leviathan’ is hunting bigger game. It is a movie with real grandeur.”
Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN

“The year’s best film, period.”
Todd McCarthy, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Highly recommended. A magnificent allegory for a broader malaise afflicting Russia’s body politic. Extremely thrilling and aesthetically beautiful. A wonderful, grand drama.”
Jason Di Rosso, ABC RADIO NATIONAL

★★★★1/2
“Masterly. A powerful experience. A major new film from one of contemporary cinema’s most important directors.”
David Stratton, THE AUSTRALIAN

★★★★1/2
“Majestic. Certainly one of the best films of the past year.”
Paul Byrnes, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD/THE AGE

★★★★1/2
“A film as Russian as the vodka which lubricates every scene. The Russia portrayed in this haunting and profoundly melancholy film is fertile ground for the gloomiest ruminations on humankind’s basest instincts. You will be enthralled.”
Sandra Hall, THE SUN-HERALD/THE SUNDAY AGE

★★★★1/2
“A masterpiece. Quite unlike any other film you will see this year..”
Leigh Paatsch, COURIER MAIL/DAILY TELEGRAPH/HERALD SUN

★★★★1/2
“Brave and confident. As enormously impressive as it is deeply human.”
Jane Freebury, THE CANBERRA TIMES

“Magnificent. Zvyagintsev’s masterpiece – a new Russian classic.”
John McDonald, AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW

“The one true masterpiece of global cinema released this year. It’s a psychological thriller, a scathing political satire, a powerful and upsetting family drama, a dark comedy and a work of magnificent landscape cinematography and startling pictorial intensity. It’s grand and novelistic, in the spirit of Turgenev and Tolstoy, intensely observed and ironic, in the spirit of Chekhov, and contemplative and spiritual, in the spirit of Tarkovsky. That’s an awful lot of weight to carry, I know; but this is quite a movie, a bitter and compassionate work of genius that will reward repeat viewings and keep on getting better. An amazing experience – a tragic, majestic, ironic and humane new classic of Russian cinema.”
Andrew O’Hehir, SALON.COM

“One of the best films of the year. A grave and beautiful drama, at once intimate and enormous. Pictorially ravishing in the best Russian wide-screen tradition… Mr Zvyagintsev layers social commentary, intense emotion and spiritual allegory without ever losing the human dimension of the narrative.”
A.O. Scott, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Huge monsters of the deep move under the surface of this powerful, craftily allusive and elusive film, the director’s best and most courageous so far.”
Leslie Felperin, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“In “Leviathan,” an ordinary man must wrestle with his faith not in God but in the Russian state — an epic struggle against a monster with many faces possessed of the capacity to bend the law to suit its own appetites. Resistance is futile, as they say, and yet this stunning satire’s embattled patriarch valiantly perseveres for the sake of his family, even as it crumbles around him. Debuting in competition at Cannes, this engrossing, arthouse-bound opus unfolds with the heft of a 1,000-page novel.”
Peter Debruge, VARIETY

“Absolutely fantastic. If there was ever any doubt as to Zvyagintsev’s position as one of world cinema’s foremost auteurs, it’s put to rest here. His filmmaking has always been superb, but he’s never taken on the state of his nation in the way he does here. And that makes “Leviathan” not just masterful but also hugely important.”
Oliver Lyttlejohn, THE PLAYLIST

“A masterpiece. Stunning images. The movie expands, breathtakingly, into mordant humour, mystery, ferocious satire and classic tragedy. Mr. Zvyagintsev’s direction is so precise, his concern for concision so steadfast, that screen time is never squandered on what can be inferred. Every moment in LEVIATHAN is emotionally charged. Every image has its impact. Magnificent cinematography… Every character comes alive through flawless performances.”
Joe Morgenstern, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

WINNER – PRIX DU SCENARIO
2014 CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – 2015 GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS
Best Foreign Language Film

NOMINEE – 2015 ACADEMY AWARDS
Best Foreign Language Film

NOMINEE – 2015 BAFTA AWARDS
Best Foreign Language Film

WINNER – BEST FILM – 2014 BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER – BEST FILM – 2014 MUNICH FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER – BEST FILM – 2014 ASIA PACIFIC SCREEN AWARDS
WINNER – BEST FILM – 2014 ABU DHABI FILM FESTIVAL

The stunning, Oscar-nominated new film from modern Russian master Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return, Elena), LEVIATHAN is a gripping parable of class, faith and corruption, centering on a dispute between a small-time mechanic and his local authorities that reaps unimaginable and extraordinary consequences.

Kolia (the magnetic Alexey Serebryakov) lives in a coastal village near the Barents Sea in Northern Russia, running an auto-repair shop from the garage of his childhood home, shared with young wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova) and his teenage son from a previous marriage.

The family’s world is under threat: Vadim Sergeyich (Roman Madyanov), the imperious town Mayor, has slapped a compulsory acquisition order on Kolia’s prime land, earmarking the site for a development of undetermined but dubious funding (and offering risible, token compensation). To Sergeyich’s great surprise, Kolia enlists the help of ex-army friend Dmitri (Vladimir Vdovitchenkov), now a hotshot lawyer from Moscow. Dmitri has uncovered some highly incriminating evidence that he believes will force the Mayor to back down, even if he has secrets of his own. Soon tempers and passions are inflamed, events spiral out of control, and lives are placed at stake.

Zvyagintsev’s deftly-drawn and morally complex thriller is an electrifying, vodka-fuelled examination of the familial, sexual and judicial tangles of ordinary human lives, played out against the monstrous machinations of Putin’s seemingly unchecked regime. Saturated with incredible imagery, superb performances and sly, Kafkaesque humour, this astounding and frequently surprising masterwork should, quite simply, not be missed.

MORE…
‘A Movie That Challenges Putin’ – Andrey Zvyagintsev with The New York Times.

‘Power, patriotism and vodka’ – Catherine Shoard, The Guardian.

‘A whale of a tale about extreme injustice in Russia’ – Philippa Hawker, The Age/SMH.

‘A new Russian masterpiece’ – Peter Bradshaw’s 5-star review in The Guardian.

‘Attacking Putin’s Russia From Inside the Whale: Introducing the director Andrei Zvyagintsev and his Cannes-winning film’ – Tom Birchenough The Arts Desk.

‘Russia submits Leviathan for the Academy Awards after all’ – Thompson On Hollywood with Andrey Zvyagintsev.

“It’s a collision between a small person and a vast structure, the Leviathan. In a country like Russia, all the security, all the protection a member of society gets [is] from the establishment — police, army, health providers. In exchange, people have to give back their freedom. I was overwhelmed with this idea. I saw it as a deal a human being might make with the devil. Freedom is the main value a human being has, but sometimes people don’t even notice it is being taken, because they are following the guarantees they were given.” – Andrey Zyvagintsev with The New York Times‘s Larry Rohter.

“Champion of the Lone Russian Everyman: In ‘Leviathan,’ Andrey Zvyagintsev Navigates Tricky Terrain” – The New York Times

“Living in Russian is like being in a minefield” – Andrey Zyvagintsev speaks candidly with The Guardian’s‘s Shaun Walker.

‘A film and a filmmaker unafraid of big questions’ – NPR

Leviathan

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