Cannes Winner Andrei Zvyagintsev Says Government Should Not Dictate Directors What Films to Make


Meanwhile, the Russian government moves closer towards introducing restrictions on foreign releases.

MOSCOW -- Cannes winner Andrei Zvyagintsev has warned against state officials' interference with the content of films made in the country. Meanwhile, the Russian government has made another step towards introducing restrictions on foreign theatrical releases.

Giving a master class at Russia's main national film festival Kinotavr, where he heads the jury, Zvyagintsev, whose Leviafan recently won the best script award at Cannes, said that the government shouldn't influence directors' artistic choices.

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"I think, if the government dictates [directors] what films they should make, it's a mistake," he was quoted as saying by the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, adding that movies should paint a true picture of what is going on in society rather than focus only on the positive side.

"We need to show what a person is like rather than what they could become," he went on to say.

Zvyagintsev also mentioned a conversation at Cannes with culture minister Vladimir Medinsky, who did not like Leviafan.

"He asked me about my plans and I shared an idea for a project with him," he said. "He got interested. But I didn't ask for anything. I think that I'll be able to find money for my future films in one way or another."

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Zvyagintsev was speaking just a few weeks before a new law banning bad language in film comes into force in Russia, which is to affect many films, including Leviafan, as profanity will have to be either edited out or beeped.

Meanwhile, the government has moved further towards limiting the number of foreign releases in Russia. The party United Russia, which has a majority in the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russian Parliament, has approved a legislation under which at least 50 percent of all theatrical releases should be local. Currently, local releases account for about 20 percent of all releases and distributors warn that they wouldn't be able to have enough local fare to comply with the legislation, if it were enacted.