Film Screening 30th August, 2006

Poster for The Return (Vozvrashcheniye)

The Return (Vozvrashcheniye) 

8:00 PM, 30th August, 2006

  • M
  • 110 mins
  • 2003
  • Andrei Zvyagintsev
  • Vladimir Moiseyenko, Aleksandr Novototsky
  • Vladimir Garin, Ivan Dobronravov, Konstantin Lavronenko, Natalya Vdovina

Young Ivan and Andrey return home one day and are asked to keep quiet as their father is resting. This is both astonishing and alarming to them; their father has been inexplicably absent for twelve years, although Mother displays no outward signs of this being an abnormal event. The boys have no recollection of their father and refer to a secretly stashed photograph for affirmation. Andrey is more passive and becomes withdrawn but Ivan is immediately suspicious when his father announces that he will be taking them on an excursion, presumably a fishing trip. The trip is the context in which the story unfolds. During the course, Father maintains the allegiance of Andrey, but ostracises the hostile Ivan. He sets a deadline that both sons must keep - which they subsequently fail - and thus confrontation and tragedy follow. Father is an extremely puzzling, enigmatic character. His relationships appear limited to blunt instruction and ambiguous threats and not much more. We are uncertain if his intentions are good or whether he is attempting to engage with the boys through an awkward but genuine display of fatherly affection. The vastness of Russia emphasises the sense of disquiet and unease as we observe the growing tensions and escalating sense of dread as the boys are taken further and farther away from home. The cinematography is spell-binding and beautiful but the feeling is bleak and sinister. A really wonderful, sad film.Anh Nguyen

Anh Nguyen