Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Return (2003)

This evening I watched The Return (2003) by Andrey Zvyagintsev .

Zvyagintsev’s directorial debut is the story of two young brothers Andrey and Ivan who come home one summers day to find their father has returned home after a 12 years absence without a word of explanation.

An authoritarian figure this man, a stranger to the two boys, takes them on a trip the following day. The elder of the two boys, Andrey, is intrigued by his father and wishes to gain his approval. The younger, Ivan, is filled with distrust and resentment towards this mysterious man. Where has this father been so long? And why is he suddenly back in their lives as if nothing ever happened.

The film is shot against a beautiful Russian landscape, in hues of blue and grey, which sets the tone of this heartbreaking story. The film is exquisitely shot and superbly acted by the three leads with an exceptional performance by Ivan Dobronravov, who plays the young Ivan.
Sadly, Vladimir Garin, who played the older brother Andrey died shortly after making this film.
This is a wonderful and very moving film and I’m looking forward to watching Zvyagintsev’s latest film Elena (2011).


  1. The Return was my first foray in to Russian Cinema. Knowing I was going to spend time in Russia I saw that this film was playing and thought it may give me an insight in to Russian culture and life.
    I had largely forgotten about what happens in the film so reading your post really helped bring back the feel of the movie.

    I'll have to lend you my favourite Russian movie to date, Autumn Marathon (1979) director Georgi Daneliya.

  2. Thanks Jo. That would be awesome.