The first international Leviathan trailer for director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s (The Return) new film has landed online, giving us here in the States a look at what is certainly one of the most buzzed-about foreign films of the year. Inspired by the Biblical Book of Job, the Russian pic mainly revolves around a dispute between a property owner and his mayor over a parcel of land in a small town, but Zvyagintsev uses the premise as an opportunity to dive deep into issues such as class, corruption, and faith. Indeed, many have praised the film’s strong social criticisms of Russia itself, and the pic premiered to wildly enthusiastic reviews at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year where it took home the screenplay award. It seems like a sure-fire Oscar contender in the Best Foreign Language Film race, but the question is will Russia submit the pic as its entry, or will it shy away from the critical nature of the film? Either way, I’m looking forward to checking it out.
Watch the international Leviathan trailer after the jump. The film stars Alexey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Roman Madyanov, and Vladimir Vdovitchenkov. Leviathan opens stateside courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics on December 31st.
Trailer via HitFix.
Here’s the synopsis for Leviathan:
Kolia (the magnetic Alexey Serebryakov) lives in a coastal village near the Barents Sea in Northern Russia, running an auto-repair shop from the garage of his childhood home, shared with young wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova) and his teenage son from a previous marriage.
The family’s world is under threat: Vadim Sergeyich (Roman Madyanov), the imperious town Mayor, has slapped a compulsory acquisition order on Kolia’s prime land, earmarking the site for a development of undetermined but dubious funding (and offering risible, token compensation). To Sergeyich’s great surprise, Kolia enlists the help of ex-army friend Dmitri (Vladimir Vdovitchenkov), now a hotshot lawyer from Moscow. Dmitri has uncovered some highly incriminating evidence that he believes will force the Mayor to back down, even if he has secrets of his own. Soon tempers and passions are inflamed, events spiral out of control, and lives are placed at stake.
Zvyagintsev’s deftly-drawn and morally complex thriller is an electrifying, vodka-fuelled examination of the familial, sexual and judicial tangles of ordinary human lives, played out against the monstrous machinations of Putin’s seemingly unchecked regime. Saturated with incredible imagery, superb performances and sly, Kafkaesque humour, this astounding and frequently surprising masterwork should, quite simply, not be missed.