2015 is off to a great start for Russian cinema (if not for Russia itself): Andrei Zvyagintsev took home a Golden Globe for “Leviathan” in the Best Foreign Language Film category the other night in Los Angeles. Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan”, a tragic tale of a small – town mechanic (played by Alexey Serebryakov) fighting against local authorities that are attempting to demolish his family home on the coast of the Barents Sea, has received raving reviews from critics in Russia and abroad. Shaun Walker’s profile of Zvyagintsev in The Guardian gives a good overview of the film, and its implications in the current political climate.
The Golden Globe is only one of the many prestigious awards the film has received this season: it won the Best Screenplay in Cannes (where it was also nominated for a Palm d’Or), ARRI / OSRAM Award as Best International Film at the Munich Film Festival and Critics Award in Sao Paulo.
The biggest prize, however, is likely yet to come: the film is in the Academy Awards short list in the Best Foreign Film category. Both critically and statistically, Leviathan’s Oscar chances are strong: the film industry’s most prestigious award has gone to the Golden Globe Foreign Film winner four years in a row. Leviathan is already showing in theatres internationally and has notoriously leaked online over the weekend (apparently, via one of the Academy members). Meanwhile, Russian audiences will only see the film on the big screen come February 5th. Russians are in for a special treat: following Putin’s ban on Russian ‘mat’ in works of art , the Russian – language version of the film will contain no obscene language, with the uncensored version going straight to DVD. There is also talk of
For those based in NYC, Leviathan (playing at Film Forum and Lincoln Center) is not the only must-see spectacle hailing from Russian this month. Make sure to make it to BAM, where St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Ballet will hold a two-week residency starting today. Don’t miss Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa’s classic version of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” or Prokofiev’s “Cinderella” with Russia’s most famous prima Diana Vishneva dancing on the 17th .
Posted by: Polina Dubik