Sunday 27th January 5:00 PM


In 2003, Zvyagintsev brought us 'The Return', feted universally, even here in Keswick. He now brings us 'Elena', an almost film noir-like movie which, once again, has brought worldwide critical acclaim, including the Cannes 'Un certain regard' special jury prize.

Elena has married Vladimir, we learn, some ten years earlier. She was his nurse when his appendix burst, and the relationship was upgraded to wife with, apparently, little or no love on either side. She has continued to look after him since. In the background, we find Elena has a feckless son, Sergei, from a previous marriage who is reliant on Elena bringing him money to support his own family. Vladimir has no time for him, instead doting on his own daughter, Katya, who seems to have little purpose in life beyond getting his money. So this loveless family life has continued until now, when circumstances clash; Sergei's son needs money to go to college or he will have to join the army, whilst Vladimir has a heart attack and has to face up to his future. His decision does not favour Elena's family and she has to decide what to do to ensure her family are secure. With a central performance by Nadezhda Markina playing Elena, also to enthusiastic critics, we can look forward to a gripping drama, with overtones of the state of Russia today; people are of no importance, money is all.


“Shoot this film in black and white and cast Barbara Stanwyck as Elena, and you'd have a 1940s classic”

Roger Ebert



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