A mixture of psychological thriller and road movie, The Return tells the story of two young brothers, Andrei (Vladimir Garin) and Ivan (Ivan Dobronravov), who must cope with the sudden and unexplained return of their long absent father. Unusually close and notably protective of each other’s interests, Andrei and Ivan embark on a destination-free road trip with the cryptic father after years of gazing at his image on a torn photograph. But as hopes for a caring parent metamorphose into fear of abuse, a family getaway becomes the background for self-discovery and the destruction of deeply rooted emotional investments. As it turns out, the missing spots in the two boys pasts run deep, the distance between imagined fatherhood and the man in its symbolic center is breathtaking, and Andrei and Ivan’s need for a newly articulated relationship with parental guidance is a source of impenetrable pain.
Stuck on an allegorical desert island, Ivan and Andrei re-visit the trauma of abandonment and are forced to stare at their internalized myths of fatherhood, history and affection. More than a symbolic landscape of bareness, director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s meticulously photographed island with its panoramic blending of land, sea and sky works as a fertile background for the film’s last quarter.
At the same time simple and multi-layered, The Return’s narrative is a crisscross between detailed psychological exploration and bold statements about the processes in which kinship and mankind are forged.
Andrey Petrovich Zvyagintsev (Russian: Андре́й Петро́вич Звя́гинцев) (born February 6, 1964) is a Russian film director and actor. He is mostly known for his 2003 film The Return, which won him a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
Zvyagintsev was born in Novosibirsk, Siberia. At the age of 20 in 1984 he graduated from the drama school in Novosibirsk as an actor. Since 1986 he has lived in Moscow where he continued his studies at the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts until 1990. From 1992 to 2000 he worked as an actor for film and theater. In 2000 he began to work for the TV station REN TV and directed three episodes of the television series The Black Room.
In 2003, he directed his first feature film The Return, which received several awards, including a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. His second feature film The Banishment premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Palme d’Or. n 2008, he directed a short segment for the film New York… read more
A film I thought I would absolutely love left me feeling deeply uncertain. I think I struggled so much with how much I disliked the father character. I was downright uncomfortable watching it and thus unable to really love the beautiful cinematography. A haunting final scene but still frightened off too far to really dig in.
This film, although slow, is a thrilling ride that allows you to understand human nature at its core. It wreches through trust and mistrust and fellings of abandonment and abandoning. We all deal with the feeling "why" but rarely do we see it in such raw from. Very good acting, very touching story.
So. Where were we? Right, I was saying that I'd "been dreaming up a new format and, if all goes according to plan, it'll be rolling out slowly
A masterwork in allegory and symbolism, “The Return” is a boundlessly layered Jungian landmine of religious metaphor and political subtext, ominous mysticism elegantly sewn to a timeless tale simmering… read review
The last time I saw that film was maybe 3 years ago. Even after those years, I strongly keep the memory of that film. The Return is intense on every level… The photography and the directing is insane… read review
The use of visuals certainly is in the tradition of Tarkovsky, but Zvyaginstev has a very strong voice of his own.
The film is strong, powerful, visceral and ever so affecting. The story is… read review