Andrei Zvyagintsev – Elena (2011)


Elena and Vladimir are an older couple, they come from different backgrounds. Vladimir is a wealthy and cold man, Elena comes from a modest milieu and is a docile wife. They have met late in life and each one has children from previous marriages. Elena’s son is unemployed, unable to support his own family and he is constantly asking Elena for money. Vladimir’s daughter is a careless young woman who has a distant relationship with her father. A heart attack puts Vladimir in hospital, where he realizes that his remaining time is limited. A brief but somehow tender reunion with his daughter leads him to make an important decision: she will be the only heiress of his wealth. Back home he announces it to Elena. Her hopes to financially help her son suddenly vanish. The shy and submissive housewife then comes up with a plan to give her son and grandchildren a real chance in life. (Cannes Film Festival) Continue reading

Andrei Zvyagintsev – Vozvrashcheniye (Возвращение) AKA The Return [+Extras] (2003)


Plot Outline :
Feisty, diminutive 13-year-old Ivan (Ivan Dobronravov) lives with his mother (Natalia Vdovina) and easygoing, tall, 15-year-old brother Andrei (Vladimir Garin) in a small, grimy Russian town. Their father (Konstantin Lavronenko) has long since departed the scene – until one day, completely out of the blue, he returns.

A dour, steely presence, Dad doesn’t say much, but next day takes the boys on a “fishing trip.” While Andrei does his best to re-establish friendly terms with his uncommunicative parent, Ivan rebels – and even questions whether this mysterious streanger really is their father at all. When they reach their destination at a remote lake, events take an even more enigmatic turn… Continue reading