Cannes Winner 'Leviathan' Granted Exhibition License in Russia

The film's prospects at home were uncertain in light of a new law banning bad language onscreen.

MOSCOW -- The Russian culture ministry has issued an exhibition license to Andrei Zvyagintsev's Leviafan (Leviathan), which won the best script award at Cannes in May. There were fears that the movie might not be released in Russia as it contains bad language, which contradicts a Russian regulation enacted on July 1.

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"An 18+ restriction exhibition license was issued to Leviathan due to the presence of profane language," said the ministry, adding that the issue date of the license was marked late June. By doing that, the ministry formally observed the recent regulation, which bans any movie containing bad language from screening in Russia.

Zvyagintsev hasn't yet commented on the news, but he earlier stated that he had no plans to recut the movie to make it comply with the law.

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"We considered every word, and all the words are relevant [for the film] as they help to re-create authentic conversational language," Zvyagintsev said last month. "Castrated language and bans are bad for the arts."

Since its Cannes premiere, Leviathan has been screened as the closing-night film at Russia's main national festival, Kinotavr, and collected the ARRI/OSRAM Award at the Munich film festival. It is also playing in the East of the West competition at Karlovy Vary film festival.