Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev to release first English-language film

Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev to release first English-language film

8 July 2021

Oscar-nominated Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev is set to shoot his first English-language film.

Zvyagintsev, who has previously scooped top prizes at the Venice and Cannes film festivals, is best known for his blistering social takes on Russian life in Leviathan (2014) and Loveless (2017).

What Happens will be Zvyagintsev’s first English-language feature, with shooting taking place in the United States. The director’s script was written with Russian screenwriter and novelist Oleg Negin, who co-authored four of Zvyagintsev’s earlier films: The Banishment and Elena, as well as Loveless and Leviathan, which were both shortlisted at the Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film.

In line with the existential themes of Zvyagintsev’s previous works, What Happens will contemplate the nature of modern relationships, as well as “ love and dislike, sympathy and its absence, empathy and loneliness, fate and destiny,” the film’s production company A.R Films revealed. The timeline of the film’s release has not been announced yet.

“After Andrey [Zvyagintsev] finished working on Loveless, which I always thought was the final film of our Russian trilogy, we took a break,” said Alexander Rodnyansky, the film’s producer, in an Instagram post. Rodnyansky is also known for his work with directors such as Kantemir Balagov and Kira Kovalenko, currently at Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of her film Unclenching the Fists.

“Only [since] last year have we been discussing our potential future plans and finally decided that our next film would be in English. It has always been my belief that Andrey’s work, in its incredible analysis of human nature, is absolutely universal in its core and transitioning to English — the universal language of today’s global society — will help him reach a broader audience.”

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