3.5. Easily disliked to a western viewer, as myself. But, for what I have read and seen of Zvyagintsev, this film must be looked through a Russian perspective. It documents a decaying society, where the primary instinct of survival meets no moral boundaries. It raises some interesting questions about contemporary Russia.
Erhabenheit zu Beginn, Vulgarität zum Ende. Zwischendurch ein paar Takte Philip Glas, schön komponierte längere Einstellungen und ich geriet in soziologisches Grübeln und wußte lange nicht, für welche Seite ich mich entscheiden soll. Kurzum: Wunderbares Kino.
Subtle in every dimension, but all the more violent because of that. In my view it has the issue of class at its core; yet, its political polarity is ambivalent: the proletariat are proles - victims and perpetrators alike. Tragedy arises only when people try to leave their caste. Highly dubious, ambivalent, contradictory. The way light is handled is amongst the most beautiful I have ever seen.
Despite the quite easy-to-predict characters, still very thrilling. More than the basic plot on coldness between the people of various "classes", I appreciated the well-done tiny pieces that give a critical insight in the 21st century post-Soviet society - from cashier unable to operate a credit-card to corrupt higher education system or simply stupid and meaningless TV-shows that have nothing to do with reality.
Zvyagintsev recurre nuevamente a un drama gratuito, en esta ocasión representando a una mujer con una actitud cuestionable. Por un lado benevolente, pero por otro egoísta. Simplemente no cuadra. A esto se le suma el retrato de una familia paria tan maquillado. El filme además se sirve de los tiempos muertos, algo que de cierta forma también desencaja dentro de su dialéctica simplista.
This cinematographer is the main reason I checked this film out. Didnt disappoint! Lets say I were to make a film and I was able to pick any crew I wanted... this guy would be in my top 5 for cinematographer. The film may or may not be a pinch heavy handed - Im not really sure. Overall its a thought-worthy and perhaps cautionary tale about parenthood, intertwined with social commentary about Russian society today.
It begins the way many traditional japanese dramas of the 40's and 50's began, but the class conflicts and family preocupations of yore are given a post-modern perspective where the moral standpoint of the main character becomes increasingly faded and volatile, to the point where her decisions are not so easily justified or reprehensible. Shot with skill and a startling sense of atmosphere, this film stays with you.
The tense, expectant atmosphere and prowling camera movement of Zvyagintsev's "The Return" are present, but without the powerful and unsettling effect of his debut film. The story of Elena as an essentially kept woman is squandered in favour of a feeling of ennui. However, as usual with Russian films, the quality acting is a (alas, only partial) compensation. (Russians make my favourite actors!)