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This is the best of the 5 Zvyaginsky films that I've seen - in order of appeal (Elena, The Return, Loveless, Leviathan, Banishment.) Except for the initial scene (crow in tree) Z. keeps his Tarkovskian urges under control.
Everybody is either feckless or watching out for themselves and nobody is lovable.
An interesting take on consumer society in contemporary Russia, propelled along by a murder. Gorgeous to look at.
Good movie. The conversation between father and daughter is well done. It says a lot.
The action of a dutiful mother is sad. Her action is not done out of love but maybe she sees it as justice. The meaningless life for both rich and poor is portrayed.
how does a woman choose to survive when her life is about to take a sudden turn for the worse?
the director - who also did Leviathin - prides himself on the silences in this film.
the first Russian film I've seen that showed life in the upper class
This movie is very interesting to see the differences between the classes in Russia and the way they live. This movie is extremely slow, I mean the first 5 minutes you watch a crow do nothing. Overall the story is nothing special and for me very unrealistic. She goes from loving the guy to killing the guy overnight. Really!!! Give this movie a pass, not a very worthwhile foreign movie.
Smartly, naturally directed and acted on a frank, lush backdrop of 21 C Russia city life. It's pleasing to see a woman betrayed rectify things when the odds are against her and where tribal, personal justice triumphs and a narrower, legal justice would not.
well, Nursebob really said it all, and said it well. I'll only add that subtitles add nuance in a way I didn't expect.
Elena is a quiet, docile woman whose life seems to revolve around playing housemaid to her wealthy older husband Vladimir and doting on Sergey, her good-for-nothing son from a previous marriage and his equally useless family. Although loving in his own way, Vladimir refuses to support Sergey claiming the unemployed lout needs to get his own act together and start taking responsibility for his wife and kids. But when Elena’s cretinous grandson Sasha is faced with mandatory military service due to poor grades at school only a sizable bribe will buy his way into college; a bribe Vladimir refuses to provide. Desperate to help the boy, Elena hatches a diabolical plan to ensure her son’s family receives all the money they need. Although couched in the conventions of film noir this bleak tale of one desperate woman driven to extreme measures speaks volumes on Russian society. The stark contrast between upper and lower classes is made glaringly evident as Elena travels by taxi, bus and train from her elegantly appointed condo overlooking a quiet city park to Sergey’s decrepit apartment block squatting in the shadows of a nuclear power plant. Suspended between both worlds Elena cannot understand why her husband exhibits an apparent lack of charity towards those less fortunate (even if they brought it upon themselves) yet shamelessly spoils his own daughter who is every bit as useless as Sergey. “Why do you think you’re so special...” she says accusingly at one point, “...just because you have money.” With long, beautifully framed shots and a pounding yet subtle orchestral score by Philip Glass director Andrei Zvyagintsev maintains an aura of almost subliminal tension coupled with a touch of contemporary angst. His ending, when it comes, is a masterful stroke of unspoken guilt and sobering satire hinting at darker days to come.
Nineteen copies(!), I just saw; amazing. Tried to watch it but gave it a pass on the grounds of lack of excitement, which I wanted. But I now see (http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2014/dec/08/the-10-best-films-of-2014-no-5-leviathan) that its director has made one of the great flicks of 2014, starring the leading lady from this one. So I'll borrow it again and try not to be so shallow this time.
This film demonstrates the differences between the classes in Russia but is very slow moving and becomes tedious at times.
A spoiler! Please read after watching the movie. Watched the movie and also watched the interview with the director. He said that the silent and slow beginning actually continued for 8 minutes, and only then the first words were spoken. I liked it. About the medical side of the story: The health care in Russia for people who are well off (and he obviously is quite wealthy), provides very advanced treatments, surgeries etc. based on the latest technologies. The discrepancy between the reality and the outdated, really nineteenth-Century treatment makes the story quite inane and greatly spoils the movie. Couldn't the scriptwriters get an opinion from an MD?
This is an excellent film, very deserving of its recognition at Cannes Film Festival.
A film on lives in comtemporary Moscow, of the wealthy and the poor. It is a slow film involving a murder. Not high on suspense but if you are curious about life in Moscow this will be an interesting film to watch. Russian with English subtiles.
There are English subtitles. (May have to be turned on in main menu. No dialogue for first 10 minutes) Extremely slow moving, but extremely effective film. Excellent acting by "Elena".