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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

Russian black comedy Leviathan is riding a wave of success

Buzz for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival's Black Pearl award winner in the narrative competition has been building for months.
Leviathan adds a top honour from Abu Dhabi to its other prizes. Courtesy ADFF
Leviathan adds a top honour from Abu Dhabi to its other prizes. Courtesy ADFF

The top winner at this year’s Abu Dhabi Film Festival has been gathering critical buzz – and awards – for months now.

Two weeks before scooping the festival’s Black Pearl Award in the Narrative Film Competition on Friday night, Leviathan won Best Film at the London Film Festival.

But the buzz had been brewing for months before, with the Russian drama among the favourites to win Cannes’s Palme d’Or – an accolade it missed out on to Turkey’s Winter Sleep, which also screened at ADFF in the Showcase section. Instead, the writer-director Andrey ­Zvyagintsev had to console himself with winning the Best Screenplay gong at Cannes.

The producer Alexander Rodnyansky, speaking in Abu Dhabi before the win was announced, admitted the success was not a complete surprise.

“After Cannes I realised this movie made so many people speak about it, I felt the attitude in London immediately after the screenings, so I definitely understood this movie is welcomed by festival crowds,” he said. “I’ve never ever read such [positive] press about any movie, such huge support. I would not be honest with you to say this was such a huge surprise – but on another side it doesn’t reduce the feelings we had.”

The lead actor Alexey Serebryakov was also recognised in Abu Dhabi with a Best Actor award in the Narrative Film Competition.

For the producer behind last year’s Stalingrad – the highest-grossing Russian film ever – Leviathan is Rodnyansky’s second picture with Zvyagintsev

The Ukrainian businessman confirmed the pair will collaborate a third time.

“I have a couple of ideas of his and we’re discussing them, trying to pick up the right idea for the next movie,” he said, adding that one would be set in ancient Russia.

“It will probably be much bigger in scale and scope,” he added. “We’re meeting in LA next week to discuss [the project].”

rgarratt@thenational.ae

Updated: November 1, 2014 04:00 AM

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