Nov 13, 2012

18th Nov 2012; Andrey Zvyagintsev's THE RETURN

The Return
A film by Andrey Zvyagintsev
2003/ Russia/ Col/ 105 mins
18th Nov 2012; 5.45 pm
Perks Mini Theater

The Return is the stunning feature film debut of Andrey Zvyagintsev, a 39-year-old Russian director who here renews the grand tradition of Russian cinematic mysticism epitomized by Andrei Tarkovsky.
 With a story line at once enigmatic and psychologically acute, "The Return" draws on biblical motifs to tell a story of Vanya (Ivan Dobronravov) and Andrey (Vladimir Garin), adolescent brothers who have grown up in the care of their mother (Natalia Vdovina) in a small, depressed town, their father having disappeared sometime after Vanya's birth. 

 The boys come home one day to discover that their father (Konstantin Lavronenko) has returned without a word of explanation. He is a hard, independent man with skills that suggest a military background. The father — remote, impossible to please, harshly judgmental and violently punishing — is a godlike figure to the boys, and possibly to the director as well.
Visually the film is a marvel, full of unsentimental images of a living, pulsing natural world. The boys' mysterious trip takes them from one body of water (a relatively benign-looking lake, where their mother is still in charge) to another (a treacherous, roiling sea, which the father)
Mr. Zvyagintsev creates a most moving tension between his archetypal themes and the bristling specificity of his characters. The film, is at once highly naturalistic and dreamily abstract, playing out its mythic themes through vibrantly detailed characterizations
Source:  New York Times

Andrey Zvyagintsev 

Andrei Zvyagintsev - Russian actor and film-maker noted for his exceptionally successful debut in directing with award-winning drama The Return (2003). Born on February, 6, 1964 in a northern city of Novisibirsk, he graduated from the Novosibirsk Actors School in 1984 and started to play on stage in provincial theatres. In the early 1990s he came to Moscow - the centre of film industry - with ambition to star in movies. Moscow was tough for a newcomer. 

As Znyagintsev put it later in one of his interviews: "I was hungry, in need of work, I auditioned for everything. I even did not have money to buy a bus ticket." From 1992 to 2000 he appeared as "extra" on numerous TV series and feature films but with no positive results. Suddenly his friend offered him a job as director at REN TV, an independent production company that makes cop shows and day-time soaps. When he got his chance to direct, Zvyagintsev did his best, he directed several episodes for popular TV series and impressing producers with his skills, he got the offer to direct a feature length. 

The Return - a low budget, artful family drama- turned out to be a great success for Zvyagintsev and an international triumph for Russian cinema. The film won the Venice Festival's Golden Lion in 2003-the first Russian film to be awarded such an honor for a number of years.When Zvyagintsev returned in Moscow from Venice, he was given a hero's welcome. He unexpectedly found himself in the centre of a media storm and after a series of interviews and appearances on TV he became a recluse.

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