'Leviathan' Director Andrei Zvyagintsev Encourages Russians to Watch Pirated Version

Best Foreign Film

Force Majeure (Sweden)
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (France)
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Tangerines (Estonia)

It contains bad language edited out from a version slated for theatrical release Feb. 5.

Director Andrei Zvyagintsev has encouraged Russians to download a pirated version of his Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning film Leviathan as it contains bad language that was later edited out to comply with Russian legislation.

Zvyagintsev was quoted by the online newspaper Gazeta.ru as saying that some scenes in the censored version, which is to be released in Russia on Feb. 5, lost their original color and suggested that after watching the movie in a theater viewers could "download a pirated version" to get a feeling of how the dialogue originally sounded.

Since the ban on profanity in movies was announced in the summer of 2014, Zvyagintsev has vehemently opposed it and was reluctant to censor out profanity from Leviathan to comply with the law.

He told Gazeta.ru that he welcomes the idea of revisiting the ban on profanity, which some local filmmakers recently floated.

Zvyagintsev also encouraged people living it cities and towns where Leviathan is not going to be available in theaters to download it.

"I would suggest that viewers who have no opportunity to see the film on the big screen as it may not make it to a small town or village, just download the picture and watch it," he told Gazeta.ru.

Leviathan is to open in Russia on 650 screens. A pirated copy of the movie was leaked to the Internet in early January, and 4 million people are estimated to have watched it so far.

In the wake of the leak, a digital producer unrelated to the film set up a fundraising website, allowing people who have watched a pirated copy to make donations to the film's creators. Neither Zvyagintsev nor producer Alexander Rodnyansky had anything to do with the move, but Rodnaynsky later hailed it and said all the collected funds will be given to charity.