Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Leviathan 2014.

Kolia (Alexey Serebryakov) is a man that likes his Vodka, as does most of is friends and acquaintances. He lives at the cold and bleak Kola Peninsula in   Northwest Russia in a large self-built wooden house that has been in the family for generations, it professes a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape. Adjoining the house is his auto repair shop. He remarried after his first wife died to Lilya (Elena Lyadova) a nice looking women younger than him self, but his son Roma, from his first marriage, does not get on with his stepmother which leads to constant stress within the household and goes someway to explain why Kolia drinks quite so much. Our story really starts when Kolia is presented with a compulsory purchase order along with a pitifully small compensation offer for his house and its land by the town’s crooked mayor, Vadim Shelevyat  (Roman Madyadov). Even with the help of his old army friend Dmitri who is a Muscovite lawyer; the court turns down his appeal. Kolia is the sort of man where things can only get worse and true to form that’s just what happens.
The bare bones of modern Russia. 
This politically charged film highlight’s the hypocrisy and corruption of the Russian State and the Orthodox Church, and was shown as part of the Robert Burns Centre Film Theatres Film Club Season and hosted by Julie McMorran. Leviathan (2014) is a film that’s not to everyone’s taste but was certainly to mine. Its cinema at its very best and has been recognized as such by some prestigious awards including Best Screenplay at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Best Film at the London Film Festival and the Golden Globes and was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, whose other feature length films have also been nominated and/or won various film awards, and co-written by him with the help of Oleg Negin. It is allegedly based on a story the director was told in the USA[1], originally wanting to shot it there but changed his mind and moved the setting to Russia. Also it has been attributed to the biblical stories of Job where the title comes from.   
The troubled young wife. 

Kolia, a man whose anger can get the better of him. 

The acting was extremely convincing, the camera work evoked the feeling of bleakness, a bleakness that gave the film most of its backbone. Zvyagintsev treats his audience like adults presenting us with a movie that is vicious in thought and mind but not in action and asking us ‘to think beyond the narrative’[2]. One of my film club colleagues opined[3] ‘that it could be one of the most honest films ever made and one that would stay in your mind for a long time’. A movie that borders on the brilliance of Andrei Tarkovsky and as I have intimated previously ‘it offers a savage portrait of the corruption and lawlessness endemic in contempory Russian society’[4]. Don’t miss a chance to see this compelling movie.

Power and authority.

[1] Marvin John Heemeyer (October 28, 1951 – June 4, 2004) was an American welder and an automobile muffler repair shop owner most known for his rampage with a modified bulldozer. Outraged over the outcome of a zoning dispute, he armoured a Komatsu D355A bulldozer with layers of steel and concrete and used it on June 4, 2004 to demolish the town hall, the former mayor's house, and other buildings in Granby, Colorado. The rampage ended when the bulldozer got stuck in the basement of a Gambles store he had previously destroyed. Heemeyer then killed himself with a handgun.
Heemeyer had been feuding with Granby officials, particularly over fines for violating city ordinances and a zoning dispute regarding a concrete factory constructed opposite his muffler shop.[1]  Wikipedia.

[2] Ian Christie Sight and Sound.
[3] Alec Barclay.
[4] Ian Christie Sight and Sound.

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