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"Leviathan". It concerns Ukraine also

The owner of "the Golden Globe Award" for "Best Foreign Language Film", a prize of the 67th Cannes Film Festival for "The best scenario" and the candidate for "Oscar" of Russia – "Leviathan" of the director Andrey Zvyagintsev – the fine and terrible movie claiming to become cult.

The image of the biblical monster in the film symbolizes a killer state machine for human freedom
The image of the biblical monster in the film symbolizes a killer state machine for human freedom 
Photo: kinopoisk.ru

by Katerina LEBEDEVA

The plot is centered around a family of the car mechanic Nikolay Sergeyev (Alexey Serebryakov). The house where all previous generations of this family lived is at risk of being demolished – a place is way too picturesque. Court suggests to pay compensation, and counterclaims of the capital lawyer Dmitry (Vladimir Vdovichenkov) and the army friend Sergeyev, persistently are dismissed by the authorities. The movie action takes place in the small settlement on the bank of the Barents Sea, and everything is solved here by the mayor Vadim Shelevyat (Roman Madyanov). In evening of final hearing he, being totally wasted from the drunken vodka, dares to come to Sergeyev's house and to declare that Nikolay "had no rights, has no and will not have".

Nikolay with Dmitry also drank too much. And it is only beginning. The next day Dmitry presents to the mayor the file with a compromising evidence on him, demanding fair 3,5 million compensation instead of appointed by court 650 thousand. At the same time Dmitry tempts Sergeyev's wife – touching and unfortunate Lilia (Elena Lyadova). However, big city emasculation does not help to survive in the Russian remote place: Dmitry leaves the village. Nikolay and Lille have to deal now not only with problems with eviction to which they already reconciled, but also to solve the personal relations which became aggravated after Lilia's cheating. All this leads to double tragic final...

"Leviathan" – the fourth feature film of 50-year-old Zvyagintsev after works "Return" (2003), "Exile" (2007), "Elena" (2011) which were also noted by prestigious international film awards. This movie so precisely hits into a point, that it is even difficult to believe insight of the director and screenwriters (Oleg Negin, Andrey Zvyagintsev). In an art form, close to exceptionality, the picture opens an essence of modern Russia, showing full and absolutely mad power of the Russian officials, and also lawlessness, humility, dullness of simple Russians.

It is amusing that "Leviathan" is shot "with financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation"

One of remarkable scenes is in which Sergeyev with a family and friends go on picnic – to do some shooting, to eat shish-kebab. Among targets – portraits of the former Russian leaders: Lenin, Brezhnev, Gorbachev. Discussing why there is nobody from "new comers", the hero says – let them hang on wall for a while (thereby expressing the concept of the sheer not resistance). By the way, the portrait of Vladimir of Putin decorates also the office of the main negative character of "Leviathan" – the mayor. It is interesting to watch the movie after documentary "Putin Games" where one of the main topics was corruption schemes. The real mayor of Sochi and the fictional mayor Zvyagintseva are as like as two peas. Realness of "Leviathan" does not raise doubts, and on this background the opinion of the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Vladimir Medinsky looks wery funny who was amused by the fact the heroes continuously use alcoholic beverages. It is even funnier that "Leviathan" was shot "with financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation". Perhaps, it is a merit of the producer Alexander Rodnyansky who could distract attention of potential donors from the essence of "Leviathan", and accent – on the name of the director recognized in the world.

By the way, in Russia the release of "Leviathan" is planned for February 5 – and it still a question, whether there will be this release and/or what will happen after it. After all, critics of the Russian reality in this movie is much more, than in all Ukrainian mass media. Dmitry Bykov writes that "Leviathan" – gloomy and strong film on which will sometime judge the atmosphere of Putin's Russia. Those who do not live there, already judge.

"Leviathan" already managed to row in Russia: so, display at the Moscow international film festival did not take place because of abundance of an offensive language in a movie. The offensive language had to be corrected; in that version of the movie that is on networks, the quantity of obscene language is minimum.

But there immense amount of vodka. Especially disgustingly faces of an totally wasted heroes look against incredibly picturesque sceneries of the nature: shootings took place in the city of Kirovsk in Murmansk region. There was also in the movie a tremendous shot with a live whale...

The most terrible thing in Zvyagintsev's movie – is that, after all, the official lawlessness is at the same level in Ukraine, as in Russia

It is worth mentioning that "Leviathan" – film interpretation of history of the bible character Iov, and religious – one of the main subjects of a picture. But the faith in Russia is also upside down so that it seems even more absurd, than judicial and bureaucratic processes in comparison with which  paranoid novels of Franz Kafka will seem books for children. The church in Russia is blended with the power to such an extent that became a mafia nest which destruction is even difficult to imagine.

And the most terrible thing in Zvyagintsev's movie – is that, after all the official lawlessness is at the same level as in Russia. Yes, of course, Ukrainians are kinder, cleverer, drink less, but the vile essence of the power does not change of it. So "Leviathan" – is an occasion to think abou everything; the movie which needs to be watched right now.

Tags: Leviaphan
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