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Leviathan – Review

Leviathan Review
Leviathan Review
Leviathan Review


Release Date: 24th September 2014
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Writer: Andrey Zvyagintsev - Oleg Negin
Cast: Aleksei Serebryakov - Elena Lyadova - Vladimir Vdovichenkov - Roman Madyanov



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Posted September 26, 2014 by

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Leviathan Review:

Kolia (Aleksey Serebriakov) lives in a little town on the bank of Barents Sea, north part of Russia. He possesses everything that every average citizen of Pribrezhny strives for: beautiful young wife (Elena Liadova), son (Sergey Pokhodaev) and house in picturesque part of the city. The mayor Vadim (Roman Medianov) intends to shatter Kolia’s idyll and plans to confiscate his entire property. Nikolai rises against unjustified expropriation and asks his old friend, a lawyer from Moscow (Vladimir Vdovichenkov) to help him out.

Leviathan” is not only a transmission of the biblical story into Russian’s reality, but an actual revival of Thomas Hobbes’s book with a same name. According to Hobbes, the government is a result of social compact aimed to avert the initial statement of the society – “the war of all against all”. Government interferes as a guarantor of social protection, standing for human rights, but not entitling them. The Leviathan government is where the control reaches its extreme and where political community and authority is built up from fear. The mayor of Pribrezhny is a pure personification of Leviathan, “I am the power”, – he declares in one of his conversations. Nikolai, rebelling against this all-consuming regime, finds himself outside and automatically becomes a part of anarchist political community. But Vadim has no right to show the weakness, he “ties them by fear of punishment to the performance of their covenants”.

The entertaining part is that the problems explored by Hobbes in 17th century are still relevant for the modern community. As a proof, the most part of Russian critics concedes that holder of Cannes’s prize for the best scenario – is “encyclopedia of Russian life in 2014”.

Zviagintsev’s manner of directing is clearly outlined and recognizable as in his previous works: “The Return” (2003), “The Banishment” (2007) and “Elena” (2011). This time with the help of unfailing camera man Mikhail Krichman and famous composer Philip Glass, his voice sounds even more earnestly. The picture is full of symbols, starting from the scene where the mayor and orthodox archimandrite dining under “Last Supper” finishing with the moment of shooting-range with Soviet leaders portraits (Lenin, Brezhnev, Gorbachov) used as a target.

The director repeatedly comes to the definition of “good” and “evil” according to the laws of Church and community. Reaching after truth Zviagintsev uses international language of cinema which in his masterpieces becomes comprehensible to everyone.

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Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 02.42.45

Aleksandra Zakharchenko
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