Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan entry among favourites to win at Cannes

Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan entry among favourites to win at Cannes
Still from Leviathan, Andrey Zvyagintsev (2014)

23 May 2014
Text Samuel Crews

Russia’s entry in the main competition of this year's Cannes Film Festival, Andrey Zvyagintsev's Leviathan, has been tipped to pick up a prize, with some predicting the film winning the Palme d’Or. Leviathan, which has its main premiere this evening, was described as “a very strong contender for the Palme d’Or” by Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw under the headline “A New Russian Masterpiece.”

Twitter is awash with comments praising the film, which is the last to be screened at the competition this year. Jamie Graham of Total Film called it “a monumental, untameable beast of a movie” while Guardian editor Xan Brooks said, “Absolutely loved Leviathan, a great fiery blacksmiths of a movie, knocking human beings into twisted shapes. Possible winner?”

Earlier today, Zvyagintsev talked of the Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky's negative reaction to the film, with the minister saying: “The film is talented but I did not like it.” According to Russian media, Medinsky had previously said that the film, which contains considerable use of profanity, will not be subject to punishment under the new “foul language” law. The law, which comes into effect on 1 July, will penalise films and books containing swearwords.

Leviathan chronicles the struggles of Kolia, a handyman living in the Russian Far North, as he attempts to resist the corrupt local mayor from seizing his land for his own construction project. The film serves as an allegory for modern-day Russia with many of the scenes featuring the mayor using a wall of photographs of Vladimir Putin as its backdrop.

The rights to the film have already been bought by a number of distribution companies across the world, with film company Curzon owning the rights to the film in the UK. You can read more about Andrey Zvyagintsev here.