Consolidating its relationship with Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev and producer Alexander Rodnyansky, Paris-based Pyramide Intl. has secured world sales rights to Zvyagintsev and Rodnyansky’s follow-up to “Elena.”

Rave-reviewed by key critics at Cannes in 2011 – Variety observed it was “mysteriously absent from competition” – the Pyramide-sold “Elena” closed Un Certain Regard, winning its Special Jury Prize.

Written by Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin, and starring Alexey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova and Vladimir Vdovichenkov, “Leviathan” turns on Nikolai who lives with his teenage son, Romka, and his young wife, Lilya, in a small town near the Barents Sea, in North Russia, in a little bay where the whales enter sometimes.

The corrupt local mayor is attempting to embargo Nikolai’s house, small auto-repair shop and lands, keeping them for himself. Nikolai calls in an old army comrade, now a hot-shot lawyer, who ultimately decides that the only way to fight back is to dig up dirt on the mayor.

“In my opinion, Zvyagintsev is one of the ten most important filmmakers today,” said Lagesse, adding that “Leviathan” is bigger-budgeted than “Elena” and will be ready for Cannes.

‘A unique film for Andrey, “Leviathan” has his trademark visual style and narrative but it is also breathtakingly beautiful,” said Rodnyansky.

“The images – as well as the film itself – will be stunning. ‘Leviathan’ was shot near the White Sea in Russia, a place of incredible beauty and power.”

He continued: “Leviathan,” is a modern retelling of the Biblical story of Job and it is populated with amazing intricately developed characters that we can easily feel empathy for.”

“It deals with some of the most important social issues of contemporary Russia while never becoming an artist’s sermon or a public statement, it is a story of love and tragedy experienced by ordinary people and both stories are universal and will be appreciated by people around the world.”

Pyramide Intl.’s sales head Lucero Garzon said “Elena” had sold to over 40 countries. “Distributors have been following Zvyagintsev’s new project for a while and we are thrilled to show them the first images now in Berlin.” she added.