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Polish Box Office Champ Takes on Russian Leader in Thriller ‘Putin’ (Exclusive Trailer)



Polish box office king Patryk Vega has set his sights on Vladimir Putin.

Vega, who now goes by the artistic name Besaleel, is best known for his gangster films, including local hits Pitbull and Women of Mafia, which have grossed a cumulative $100 million plus at the Polish box office. But for his English-language debut, the director is taking on the man he sees as the world’s biggest mafia boss: The Russian President.

Putin is pitched as a political thriller and psychological portrait of the Russian leader for an international audience. Originally titled The Vor in Law, a reference to a Russian mafia term akin to “the godfather,” the film posits connections between Putin’s links to organized crime in his time as mayor of St. Petersburg and his approach to politics, both inside Russia and on the international stage. Besaleel has called the film an artistic protest against “the Russian dictator and the war in Ukraine” and argued, as a Polish filmmaker, he is ideally suited to make it.

“Americans and even Western Europeans fail to understand Putin,” Besaleel said in a statement. “I am a person stigmatized by communism, as I grew up in communist Poland. At the same time, I have been shaped by the audiovisual culture of Hollywood. For that very reason, I find myself capable of translating the intricacies of Eastern culture into the language of the West.”

Besaleel has released the first concept trailer of the film (see below). Stylistically, the director said he plans to “fuse characters from the real world” with more iconic figures taken from Russian and Western art, including the works of medieval Russian Orthodox painter Andrei Rublev and Italian Renaissance master Caravaggio. “I want the characters of saints and demons in my movie to be perfectly blended into the world of Saint Petersburg’s streets. [full] of ragged and disheveled people with tormented Russian souls.”

The director is looking to cast a US or international star to play Putin. The $12 million production is planning to shoot in Poland, Lithuania and Malta.

Check out the concept trailer below.

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