Exclusive: International ‘Leviathan’ trailer sets the stage for Russian social critique

When last we left Andrey Zvyagientsev's “Leviathan,” it was causing a stir at the end of Cannes and looking like a sure-fire Palme d'Or winner. In the end, the Russian drama – which is a spin on the Biblical Book of Job – settled for a screenplay award at the fest, but now it's set to spur discussion again as it's set for a North American premiere at the Telluride Film Festival Friday night.

The question remaining is whether Russia will shy away from submitting it as the country's foreign language competitor in this year's Oscar race. “Watch this film and it tells you all you need to know about the state of things in Russia right now,” Sony Pictures Classics co-chief Michael Barker said to me last night. But those social critiques could certainly work against it politically in the race, not that other categories won't be available to it (Sony Classics will be releasing it stateside on Dec. 31 to qualify for all categories).

Back during Cannes, Guy Lodge joined in the raves for the picture, noting that “there's a positively thriller-like urgency to its fatalism, and ribald comedy that cuts right through its dourest thematic impulses.” So consider me eager to see it. This year's Telluride schedule is a heartbreaker on scheduling, but I'm hoping to find the time.

For now, Palace Films – the film's international distributor – has provided HitFix with the film's international trailer in advance of the Telluride bow. Check it out below and tell us what you think.