Posts From Author: thomas hobbes

Films To See In January: Leviathan; Ida; Two Days, One Night

As awards season looms, with its predictable bows to prestige and heritage movies, three reasons to venture down the road less traveled by. Leviathan has been receiving messianic reviews since its premiere at Cannes last year, where it won the Best Screenplay award, and by the end of its two-and-a-half-some hours it’s easy to see why. I have an undeveloped theory that so-called “foreign” films do well in direct proportion to their correspondence with national stereotypes. With a land dispute, a visiting lawyer from Moscow, sublime landscapes, political corruption, and titanic quantities of vodka on display, you could say that Russia’s submission to the 87th Annual Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film ticks all the boxes. But Leviathan, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, is also a serious film of grand scope and ambition that deserves to be seen both in and out of the context of Putin’s Russia. At the outset, Kolya (Alexey Serebryakov) is locked in a dense legal battle against local mayor Vadim (Roman Madyanov) over a plot of land his family has lived on for generations. Eventually shanghaied out of the property by corrupt officials, and cuckolded by the lawyer friend (Vladimir Vdovichenkov) he’d called on to […]
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