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Konchalovsky says Russia’s Oscar candidate ‘Leviathan’ powerful film

September 30, 2014, 17:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian Oscar Committee announced on Sunday that Andrey Zvyagintsev’s drama ‘Leviathan’ was nominated by Russia to compete for Oscar in the category ‘Best Foreign Language Film.’
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Russian director Andrey Konchalovsky

Russian director Andrey Konchalovsky

© ITAR-TASS/Nikolay Galkin

MOSCOW, September 30/ /ITAR-TASS/. Renowned Russian film director Andrey Konchalovsky said he felt no regrets at all after he had asked the Russian Oscar Committee to withdraw his film ‘The Postman’s White Nights’ from the list of Russian candidates to be nominated for next year’s US Academy Awards.

The Russian Oscar Committee, chaired by famous Russian film director and Oscar winner Vladimir Menshov, announced on Sunday that Andrey Zvyagintsev’s drama ‘Leviathan’ was nominated by Russia to compete for Oscar in the category ‘Best Foreign Language Film.’

“No, I have no regrets at all,” Konchalovsky said in an interview with ITAR-TASS, when asked about his decision to withdraw from the list of Russian candidates for Oscar nomination.

Titled 77-year-old film director and screenwriter Konchalovsky, whose previous works both in Russia and the United States received worldwide acclaim and involved such Hollywood heavyweights as Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell and others, said he had already watched Zvyagintsev’s ‘Leviathan’ and liked the film.

“This is a good and powerful film,” he said. “The only thing I regret is that there are no characters in Zvyagintsev’s film to fall in love with and this is very important.”

Speaking about Zvyagintsev and his nominated picture, Konchalovsky said that the 50-year-old film director, known for his exceptionally successful director's debut with his awards-winning drama ‘The Return’ (2003), was still “searching for himself”. “The most important for him is not to start repeating himself,” he said.

As for the distribution rights of his film ‘The Postman’s White Nights’, Konchalovsky said he was still undecided about it. “I would have either given it to Channel One (television channel) or posted it on the Internet,” he said.

Last week Konchalovsky sent a letter to Menshov, who won Oscar for his film ‘Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears’ in 1980, asking his commission not to consider ‘Postman’s White Nights’ as Russia’s candidate for the Academy Awards nomination.

Explaining his decision, Konchalovsky wrote in the letter that “there are two reasons behind it and they are personal and public ones.”

“In recent years I have been rather harshly criticizing Hollywoodization of the Russian market and the harmful influence of the American commercial cinematography on the formation of the sense of taste and preferences of our (Russian) audience,” Konchalovsky wrote. “In this regard I believe that competing for the Hollywood award is simply absurd.”

According to respected US weekly entertainment magazine Variety, Konchalovsky’s new film is “a fiction feature informed by reality with a cast largely composed of non-professional locals acting out their daily lives” in an isolated village in Russia’s far north.

“The story, about a charismatic postman who is the locals’ sole connection to the outside world, allows Konchalovsky to bring in a host of themes, from the sublime in nature to post-communist nostalgia and vodka, always vodka,” according to Variety’s film review.

The same magazine wrote earlier in the year about Zvyagintsev’s drama ‘Leviathan’, which was awarded with Best Screenplay at Cannes this year, the following, “At age 50, Russian master Andrey Zvyagintsev delivers a stunning, surprisingly funny satire that dares to question whether his homeland is serving its citizens' best interests.”

The 87th annual Academy Awards ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 22 next year. Besides Menshov’s ‘Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears’ two more Russian films won Oscars in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. They are film director Sergey Bondarchuk’s ‘War and Peace,’ which won Oscar in 1968, and 1994 Oscar winner ‘Burnt by the Sun’ by Russia’s titled film director Nikita Mikhalkov, who is also Konchalovsky’s younger brother.

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