Elena

NON STOP PRODUCTION, Russia, 2011

Director
Andrey Zvyagintsev
Actors
Nadejda Markina, Andrey Smirnov, Elena Lyadova, Alexey Rozin, Evgenia Konushkina, Igor Ogurtsov, Vasiliy Michkov
Year
2011
Production
NON STOP PRODUCTION, Россия
фото Владимира Мишукова / photo by Vladimir Mishukov

Elena opts for subtlety and restraint...

06/08/2012

 

The eponymous heroine of Elena (Nadezhda Markina) lives in a comfortable apartment in Moscow with her husband Vladimir (Andrei Smirnov). They met while she was a nurse and he was ill: Their marriage is muted, born more out of convenience than passion.

Both have children from previous marriages. She has a son (Alexey Rozin), shiftless and lazy. He has a daughter (Yelena Lyadova), spoiled and temperamental. Their love for their respective kids will create friction between the couple. But their relationship seems curiously rigid about them from the start: Something here is not quite right.

Elena is the third film from Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev, whose 2003 debut The Return used a similarly nondescript style to sneak up on the viewer. As a story teller, Zvyagintsev is fascinated by the points in our lives when we are forced to take sides — or even drastic action — in order to protect our families. But where Hollywood movies underline every emotion and potential crisis, Elena opts for subtlety and restraint. This is a quiet, powerful film about the lengths we’ll go to for the sake of the people we love — and the depths we’ll sink to for the sake of the ones we hate.

 

Rene Rodriguez
"Miami Herald"