Skip to content

2 Must See 2014 Foreign Language Films Up for Oscars: Leviathan, 2 Days 1 Night

February 18, 2015
Reviews by Ron Wells of two Foreign/Subtitled feature films up for 2014 Academy Awards which will be held Sun. Feb. 22, 2015.
TwoDaysOneNight_280x415
Two Days, One Night. Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

Because of her depression, a woman takes a leave of absence from a small factory job. She recovers from her illness and on the weekend before she is due to return to work , she finds out that the company’s owner and his top manager have given her 16co-workersthe option of having a bonus of 1,000 Euros each, or allowing the woman, Sandra, to have her job back. The workers vote for the bonus.Sandra persuades the owner to take another vote on Monday morning, and he reluctantly agrees to do so. She now has the weekend to find all of her co-workers and try to persuade them to change their vote.

Marion Cotillard is Sandra and this is another in a string of wonderful performances by Cotillard (along with The Immigrant this year).

Not as dramatic as she was as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose, this is a subtle and nuanced performancebyCotillard as Sandra fights the return of her depression while essentially begging her co-workers to give up the bonus and vote so she can come back to work,rather than forcing her family—husband and two children—to go back on welfare where they were before she got the job.As she approaches each of people she works with, she hears theirtrials and tribulations as well. This is a powerful tale of lower class lives and corporate ruthlessness, andCotillard makes us feel as if we were watching a real person in a documentary as Sandra faces each person, her emotions simmering beneath the surface.Her performance will probably not beat Julianne Moore for best actress, but Cotillard makes us ache for her as she fights for her job and her life in a naturalistic performance that has a somewhat surprising ending. A well deserved Oscar nomination for one of the best actresses working today.

Leviathan:

 

A Leviathan is a sea monster, usually a whale, and yet the whale we see most often here is the skeletal remains of one that has washed on shore, having died long ago. That is the bleak, persuasive image used in a film that begins and ends with shots of the land and sea surrounding a small Russian village. The landscape will always remain, but what goes on in the village exemplifies all the pain and tragedies that humans bring upon one another in their short lifetimes.

Leviathan
Kolia is a father and husband who has been in the courts fighting the mayor and city government to stop them from taking his house and land for a fraction of it’s worth. What ensues is a bureaucracy tied up in legalese that cares little for the people it serves, a mayor who is corrupt and ruthless, and a church that speaks of “truth”  and “God” while siding with the rich and powerful.

The film is very Russian in its bleakness, and throws in a touch of the biblical Job in Kolia who cannot understand why nothing but bad things are happening to him. There’s a lot of Vodka that’s drunk in attempts to ease the pain, but in the end, the smallness and powerlessness of the common man may be Kolia’s fate. There are moments of insightful humor, yet this movie pushes the darkness and universality of its themes. That is, the power and corruption of humans in small towns (or countries), reflecting people’s need to destroy or hurt others in order to get what they want.

In the end, of course, none of it matters, for the land and sea will remain and the great human leviathan will be nothing but bones washed up on a beach. Echoes of Solzenitsyn, Dostoyevsky, and other Russian writers resonate through the valleys of this film.

Powerful, well-made, well-acted, and one can only watch Kolia and wonder along with him, “Why me, God?” There is only the sound of the waves crashing against the jagged cliffs of the shore and then silence.

WINNER – 2015 GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS
Best Foreign Language Film

NOMINEE – 2015 ACADEMY AWARDS
Best Foreign Language Film

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Cast: Alexey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Roman Madyanov, Vladimir Vdovitchenkov
Duration: 141 mins
Country of Origin: Russia

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

foodwineclick

When food and wine click!

The Flavor of Grace

Helene Kremer's The Flavor of Grace

Hot Grieving MILF

I Believe in Magic

The Swirling Dervish

Wine Stories, Food Pairings, and Life Adventures

ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Living La Vida Vino!

Dracaena Wines

Our Wines + Your Moments = Great Memories

L'occasion

a reason for wine

OkieWineGirl

A Wine Drinker Rambling about Wine

Outlaw Soaps: Exciting soaps for adventurous people.

Exciting soaps for adventurous people

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

Quartz

Quartz is a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy.

Sonya Huber

books, essays, etc.

THE GRAPE BELT

DRINKING, THINKING, COOKING, EATING, READING, WRITING, TRAVELING, TALKING, AND MORE DRINKING ~ THE ESSENTIALS OF THE WINE LIFE ~

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time

poor mexican gone

Yesterday's stories shed light on the way forward

ROCKIN RED BLOG

A Song in Every Glass

cindyrosstraveler

Has a Hard Time Staying Home

trailtraveler

Get your copy of Mile 445 today at Amazon.com!

www.KamalaThompson.com

"Where Business Meets Humanity"

Laura Grace Weldon

Free Range Learning, Creative Living, Gentle Encouragement, Big Questions, Poetry, Occasional Drollery

From Insults To Respect

A Guide To Anger And Conflict Resolution

WES CHYRCHEL

Business Coach · Early Stage Advisor

Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

Where our opinions, Burner culture, and Burning Man come together

Traveling Wine Chick

Purveyor and Curator of Travel and Wine Experiences

L'esprit de Vin

A wine blog with food for thought...

The Wine Wankers

G’day, you’re at the best wine blog ever! We're all about wine; without the wankery.

Wine Verbiage

verbiage about wine & life

Small Epiphanies

A BLOG BY G.P. WAYNE

Paul reflects therapeutically

Thoughts about writing about thinking

Myth Girl

"Follow Your Bliss."

the drunken cyclist

I have three passions: wine, cycling, travel, family, and math.

Winehiker Witiculture

Hike. Wine. Repeat! An exploration of life's vinoambulocentricities.

Gabe Feathers McGee

poetry, stories, puffnstuff

New Earth Heartbeat

Breathing with the Heart of the Earth

DEAR HUMAN

These letters are written to remind you just how much you matter, just how important you are, and just how beautiful the gift of life as a human is.

SAHMmelier

Stay at home mom, lover of wine

Talk-A-Vino

Wine, food and life

The Mind's Eye Photo Workshops

Don't just take photos - Make them.

Whole Hog Marvels

Thus, bit by bit, the world is swallow'd

%d bloggers like this: