Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky has spoken out against the filmmakers behind the recently Oscar-nominate Leviathan, claiming that anti-Russian sentiment was exploited to attract international praise.
According to Minister Medinsky Leviathan’s director, Andrei Zvyagintsev, set the film in Russia in order to exploit growing anti-Russian sentiment in the west. Medinsky also claims that the film could easily have been set in the United States, France or Italy.
Leviathan tells the story of a Russian man’s battle against corruption and was widely seen at its release as having an anti-Putin message. Director Zvyagintsev however has stated that the film was partly inspired by the story of an American man who in 2004 attacked his town hall with a bulldozer after an ongoing struggle against local authorities.
Many pro-Kremlim voices have spoken out against the film and its success in the West. In 2014 the film was also given a Golden Globe for best foreign film and many critics have already predicted a win in the best foreign-language category at the Oscars.
Pro-government supporters claim that the film’s success is largely down to its unrealistic portrayal of Russian authorities, which they claim demonises the Russian state.
According to Medinsky there is not a single positive depiction of Russians in the film and the director relies heavily on Western stereotypes to create an image of Russia that does not reflect reality.
At the time of release in 2014 Leviathan on had a very small run in Russia, but has since gained international praise after being released worldwide. Critics claim that the film’s bleak depiction of man vs. ‘the system’ perfectly depicts a universally understood struggle.