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Andrey Zvyagintsev
Russia 2014 / 141’

Kolya lives with his family – his son from his first marriage and his second, younger wife – in a small town on the Barents Sea in northern Russia. He owns a house where he also runs a small auto-repair shop. His land becomes the object of desire of the powerful mayor who, taking it from Kolya for next to nothing, plans to sell it for a huge profit. Kolya decides to fight for his property with the help of his friend, a crafty lawyer from Moscow. The leviathan of the title, a monumental skeleton of a whale in the dismal, gray neighborhood where Kolya lives, also has a symbolic meaning. In making Leviathan, the director used references to the Bible and the parable of Job, as well as the work of Thomas Hobbes in which he argues that the only way to avoid evil is to put absolute power in the hands of the sovereign. Kolya’s story is about the sad clash of the aspirations of an individual with Russian reality and an epic, deep portrayal of human powerlessness and tragedy that, under those circumstances, nothing can stop.  

Katarzyna Wolanin


Cannes IFF 2014 - Award for Best Screenplay

Andrey Zvyagintsev

Andrey Zvyagintsev was born in 1965 in Novosibirsk. After graduating from theater school, he played a number of small roles in a theater for young audiences in Novosibirsk. At the end of the 1980s, he moved to Moscow, where he studied Acting at the famous Russian Academy of Theater Arts (GITIS). At the beginning of the 1990s, he got involved in theater; after 2000, he started working in television. The turning point in his career was his feature film The Return, which won a Golden Lion in Venice. Today, Zvyagintsev is one of the leading directors in Europe, and his films have garnered at least 30 awards all around the world.

Selected filmography

2003 Powrót / Wozwraszczenije / The Return

2007 Wygnanie / Izgnanie / The Banishment

2011 Elena

2014 Lewiatan / Leviafan / Leviathan

Cast & Crew

director Andrey Zvyagintsev
screenplay Oleg Negin, Andrey Zvyagintsev
cinematography Mikhail Krichman
editing Anna Mass
music Philip Glass
cast Alexey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovitchenkov, Roman Madyanov, Anna Ukolova, Alexey Rozin, Sergey Pokhodaev
producer Alexander Rodnyansky, Sergey Melkumov
production Non-Stop Production
Polish distributor Against Gravity
language Russian
colouration colour