Ivan's Childhood (1962) - News Poster

News

Sculpting Time: The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky movie retrospective review: tragedy, trauma, and torment, Russian-style

A significant new retrospective of the legendary and hugely influential Russian filmmaker is a fresh opportunity to see some gorgeous films on a big screen. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Ingmar Bergman called him the greatest director. Lars Von Trier calls him “God.” The legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, who died in 1986 aged only 54, is one of the most influential in the history of the medium, a cinematic philosopher who was constantly at odds with the Soviet government, which saw subversiveness in his morosely dreamy films… as, indeed, there may well have been. Tarkovsky called his style of filmmaking “sculpting in time,” and the ambiguous moodiness of his work often encompassed a particular Russian-flavored tumultuousness on the small scale of a human life reflected against human history, full of tragedy, trauma, and torment. But
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

Changing History: Sadyk Sher-Niyaz on ‘Kurmanjan Datka: Queen of the Mountains”

  • Sydney's Buzz
Leaving behind a prominent position as government official, Sadyk Sher-Niyaz decided to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a filmmaker. Exchanging stability for the turbulent world of entertainment was certainly a bold move from this strong-willed artist with a specific vision of what his country’s cinema could be. This country is Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian republic that found independence after collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite being under Russian control for most of its recent history, Kyrgyz people managed to preserve their culture and traditions intact. Kurmankan Datka was among the historical figures that played a role in their survival, thus she is revered as the mother of all Kyrgyz people.

Making a film of such magnitude without any precedent in the local film industry was an enormous challenge on its own. Furthermore, making a film about such a beloved figure was a risky choice. It needed to be great both artistic quality and historical accuracy. Knowing this, Sadyk Sher-Niyaz started this journey that has now taken him across the world to Hollywood and to represent his homeland in the race for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Support for the film has poured both from audiences as well as important industry figures. A few weeks a go at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, the film screened to a full house of expectant attendees. The film was introduced by Sharon Stone, who spoke about the role of strong women both on and off screen. Her genuine support for the film definitely reflects the quality of this epic production.

Dir. Sadyk Sher-Niyaz sat with us recently in Los Angeles to discuss his unique path to becoming a director and the game-changing milestone that “Kurmanjan Datka: Queen of the Mountains” represents both for him and Kyrgyzstan.

*“Kurmanjan Datka: Queen of the Mountains” is Kyrgyzstan's official submission for Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Category, and it qualifies for all other major races.

Read: Review *“Kurmanjan Datka: Queen of the Mountains”

Carlos Aguilar: This is your first feature film, but before becoming a filmmaker you had other responsibilities in the Kyrgyz government. At what point did you decide that you wanted to make films? What was the turning point?

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: That’s a really good question. No one had asked me that in that way. I was a politician in Kyrgyzstan until 2004. Before that I was entirely involved in politics. In 2004 I was elected as a deputy ombudsman to work in human rights protection, which is a very importance position to hold. However, ever since I was a child it was my dream to become a director, but I had never had the possibility to do so until I was 38-years-old. I worked as deputy ombudsman for about a year, but I couldn’t stop thinking about directing, which was what I really wanted to do. At some point I told myself “If I don’t start making films right now I will never have a chance to do it.” At 38 I felt I had to start my career as a director. This was a very radical choice. I had found success as a politician, but I always knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I knew that if I didn’t take this chance I would regret it for the rest of my life.

When I decided to leave my position in the government, the parliament didn’t want tot let me go. It took them six months to finally allow me to go. I left my job and went to Moscow to take directing and cinematography courses. However, when I left I hadn’t gotten accepted into the university. It would have been smarter for me to make sure I had place in the classes before quitting my job [Laughs]. In the end I was accepted to one of the best Russian universities and then I decided to also take courses to learn about producing besides directing and cinematography. I was 38 when I started this journey.

Aguilar: Why did you decide to take on such a huge production for your debut feature? This certainly seems like a risky choice for a first time director to make.

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: A lot of directors in my country would have been honored to make this film, but the problem was that the budget was very limited even if was the largest budget anyone in Kyrgyzstan has ever had. This story is of course very important for our nation, but not all the directors were willing to take on this responsibility. It’s a great responsibility and it would have changed anyone’s life negatively if it were not a success. I saw it as a great opportunity and I was also very honored. I decided to take this chance regardless of the risk.

To be honest, few people believed this would be a successful project. The main reason was our limited budget. Added to this, we don’t have a lot of professional actors in our country because since our independence from the Soviet Union our acting school has weakened in quality. Nevertheless, “ Kurmanjan Datka: Queen of the Mountains” has been the #1 film at the local box-office for 11 consecutive weeks beating American blockbusters like “Interstellar” and “Gone Girl.” It was very complicated to make it happen, but fortunately it has been successful. We’ve had screenings for Kyrgyz communities in different countries such as Russia, Turkey, or Canada and the theaters are always packed with people. Our people have fallen in love with the film and it has in a way united our nation.

Aguilar: Were you afraid of the outcome and how it would impact your career?

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: Fear is a normal condition. If someone doesn’t have any fears then he is just a fool because fear pushes you to do something new. You should always have a normal amount of fear. You just need to find the strength to continue and overcome it.

Aguilar: Tell me about the process of finding the right actress to play this iconic character in Kyrgyzstan’s history.

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: Finding the actress to play young Kurmanjan was the most important part because the story concentrates mostly on that period in the character’s life. I wasn’t as worried about the older actresses because they have experience working in our country. The casting process for older Kurmanjan wasn’t as complex because I knew whom I wanted. On the other hand, I was very worried about finding the young actress. There were about 200 professional actresses and about 300 non-professional actresses who showed up for the casting call. They ranged from 20 to 35-yeard-old. Every single young actress in our country, 100% of them, auditioned to play this part.

Aguilar: Having so many choices with a wide range in terms of age and experience lever, how did you know who was the ideal candidate to play the coveted part?

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: Strategically it was very difficult because all four actresses playing Kurmanjan needed to look similar. There needed to be something that all four of them shared in terms of appearance. Then, the young actress needed to work well with all the other major characters. In a sense it was like playing Chinese chess and trying to match the right actress with the right cast. Some actresses were good in some regards but not great in others, Elina Abai Kyzy was the ideal actress. Even height was taken into consideration because we wanted someone who would be imposing. She was perfect in all departments.

Aguilar: Representing your country at the Academy Awards must be an incredible experience for you, particularly with a film like “Kurmanjan Datka

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: From the beginning one of my intents was to try to get the film to compete for the Oscar. We finished shooting the film at the end of August 2013 and by the time we were done with the film it was too late to submit it to festivals. We also didn’t know if most festivals would like a film like this - a Hollywood-style epic story. I didn’t submit the film to many festivals, but I always wanted to represent Kyrgyzstan at the Oscars. I hope American audiences appreciate and like the film. I’m very honored and proud to represent my country.

Aguilar: Given the importance that this period in history for country, how important was for you to strive for historical accuracy?

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: People in Kyrgyzstan know this chapter in our history very well. It would have been almost impossible for people to accept it if it wasn’t based on real and objective facts. Therefore, all the elements in the film are based on factual information from archives. We had a lot of help from historians. Since we were dealing with the subject of our relationship with Tsarist Russia we needed every detail to be based on the truth. It would have been dangerous and not right to show this part of history in a non-objective manner. Everything was thoroughly checked.

Aguilar: It seems like your film comes at a time in which Russia’s relationship with other ex-Soviet states, such as Ukraine, is not very diplomatic.

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: A lot of people see a parallel between these historical events and Russia’s current relationships with countries like Ukraine. I finished my film at the end of 2013 and most of the recent developments in the region hadn’t happened yet. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that something like this is happening in our time. History is always repeating itself.

Aguilar: Given the historical scope of your film, are there any filmmakers that have influenced you or that you admire?

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: I really like David Lean’s great historical films, and I also like Mel Gibson’s films as a director. Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky is one of my favorites even though most of his films were experimental. He was great at making great historical films his own way such as “Ivan's Childhood

Aguilar: Do you hope that the work you are doing to bring exposure to your film and Kyrgyz culture will bring more opportunities for other filmmakers in your country?

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: I’m the first Kyrgyz filmmaker to be involved in the campaigning process here in Los Angeles. I try to show my film as much as possible and represent my country here. I’m paving the way in a sense. In the future hopefully it will be easier for other Kyrgyz directors to get their films seen.

We also have a film festival in Kyrgyzstan and I’m one of the organizers. The festival is called “Kyrgyzstan- the Country of Short Films. ” We hand our own awards there as well. Between 50 and 60 films of different lengths are made in Kyrgyzstan every year, which shows the government is very interested in the development of the local film industry. They are also interested in bringing more films from around the world to be shown in Kyrgyzstan.

Aguilar: It was a very pleasant surprised to see that in your film the heroic character is a strong female leader. Most films of this nature always focus on a traditional male hero.

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: We need to talk about strong women and to show them on the screen. My grandmother raised me, and later in life I spent more time with my mother than with my father. The role of women, not only in Kyrgyzstan but also in the whole world, is very important and we need to acknowledge that.

Aguilar: How much were the local people involved in the production of your film?

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: Around 10,000 local people were involved in the making of the film. Half of them were volunteers who just wanted to help with the film. There are several battle sequences in the film and there were about 700 people involved in them. Some of the volunteers could only help us for one day. The next day we had a different group of people as extras in those scenes, and that’s how a more and more people got involved [Laughs].

Aguilar: I know that Alexander Rodnyansky, who produced “Leviathan” was your mentor. Is interesting that both of you have a film in this race.

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: Yes, Alexander Rodnyansky produced Russia’s Oscar entry “Leviathan” and he was in fact my mentor. He was a great teacher. Everything I’m doing now I do it according to his teachings

Aguilar: After the incredible success of this film, what are your plans for the future? Are you working in a new project?

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: We are working on a sequel. I’m planning to make a trilogy about this period in our history. After Kurmanjan Datka’s death there was a period of time in which Kyrgyz people rebelled against Tsarist Russia because they refused to participate in World War I. Tsarist Russia punished them for this and thousands of innocent people were killed. About 30% of Kyrgyz people escaped to China during this time and their descendants live in China to this day. It was an enormous tragedy for our nation.

Aguilar: Lastly, tell me about your experience in Los Angeles. I know that your company now has permanent offices here. Seems like the film has been an absolute game changer for you and the Kyrgyz film industry.

Sadyk Sher-Niyaz: It’s been a great experience. A month ago we were completely foreign tot the process and how things work here in L.A. Thanks to several great people that have helped us along the way we’ve learned a lot. This film has united out country just like Kurmanjan did back then. Without her our nation would have been lost without a trace. She saved out country from disappearing in history.
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

The Noteworthy: New Film Comment, Migrating Forms 2014, "Too Many Cooks"

  • MUBI
Above: the November/December issue of Film Comment is upon us, featuring pieces on Interstellar, Inherent Vice, and Adieu au langage. The full program for BAMcinématek's 6th annual Migrating Forms festival has been announced. Soon-Mi Yoo's Songs From the North will be the opening film (check out our interview with Soon-Mi here), and Notebook contributor and friend Gina Telaroli's Here's to the Future! has its world premiere on December 13th. The full details can be seen here. The first reviews are in for Clint Eastwood's American Sniper. Here's Justin Chang's take for Variety:

"Although Steven Spielberg was set to direct before exiting the project last summer (just a few months after Kyle’s death in Texas at the age of 38), “American Sniper” turns out to be very much in Eastwood’s wheelhouse, emerging as arguably the director’s strongest, most sustained effort in the eight years since his
See full article at MUBI »

Vadim Yusov obituary

Russian cinematographer whose work with the director Andrei Tarkovsky produced poetic and powerful films

It is sometimes difficult to assess how and how much directors of photography contribute to films. However, nobody watching Andrei Tarkovsky's visual masterpieces Andrei Rublev (1966) and Solaris (1972) could fail to be struck by the remarkable cinematography of Vadim Yusov, who has died aged 84.

Yusov was Tarkovsky's favourite cinematographer, having shot four of the director's eight films, from the medium-length The Steamroller and the Violin (1961) to Solaris. Yusov also shot four features for Sergei Bondarchuk, another great of Russian cinema.

Tarkovsky's films are some of the most personal, poetic and powerful statements to have come out of eastern Europe. In contrast, Bondarchuk's films, while also imbued with a rich pictorial sense, have an objective, epic grandeur. "Tarkovsky and Bondarchuk were worlds apart," declared Yusov. "It was my job to enter both their worlds."

Yusov's relationship with the two directors also differed.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Nicolas Winding Refn in Criterion's Closet

Criterion has just posted a short video featuring Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) in their DVD/Blu-ray closet picking up and talking about a few titles. He begins with Andrei Tarkovsky's Ivan's Childhood (read my review here), but then makes sure to mention Stalker is his favorite from the famous Russian helmer. No surprise there, I even mentioned Refn when I wrote about Stalker recently. He takes a peek at Quadrophenia, Bigger than Life, Something Wild, The Great Dictator, Insignificance, Repo Man, Things to Come and finally, Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront, which is when he tells a story of having dinner with the Kazan when he was 24-years-old in Stockholm and asked him what advice he'd give a young filmmaker. Kazan told him, "My advice to you is do it your way." Watch the full video directly below.
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

'Marketa Lazarova' (Criterion Collection) Blu-ray Review

"I think the point about Marketa Lazarova is that when you first see it you're confused, and by that I mean you know that the whole story of what you're looking at is obscured, but it's still there, but you have to look hard." Peter Hames (film historian) Quick, name a Czechoslovakian film or film director... I would expect most of you are either drawing a blank or shouting out Milos Forman. The reason I ask is because on the back of Criterion's new Blu-ray release of Marketa Lazarova it reads, "In its native land, Frantisek Vlacil's Marketa Lazarova has been hailed as the greatest Czech film ever made; for many U.S. viewers, it will be a revelation." I can't speak to the first part of that statement as I believe this was the first, bonafide Czech film I've ever seen, but the second rings true. When it comes to Czech cinema,
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Transported by the Images of Tarkovsky

I recently reviewed the Criterion Blu-ray for Andrei Tarkovsky's debut feature Ivan's Childhood. It was the third film from the Russian director I'd seen, following Solaris and his final film The Sacrifice, and of the three it was probably my favorite and certainly the most approachable and easily digestible. In that review I noted the Ingmar Bergman quote discussing Ivan's Childhood of which he said, "My discovery of Tarkovsky's first film was like a miracle. Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had, until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease." Video editor and cinema lover Nelson Carvajal (whose work I've featured before) used a different Bergman quote to introduce the following Tarkovsky retrospective he posted today: "The one who invented a new language,
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

New DVD Blu-Ray: 'End of Watch,' 'The Paperboy'

  • Moviefone
Moviefone's New Release Pick of the Week "Pina" (Criterion Collection) What's It About? Director Wim Wenders ("Paris, Texas," "Wings of Desire") tells the story of Pina Bausch, an acclaimed German dance choreographer and instructor who passed away just days before the start of the planned documentary; Wenders films her most celebrated works on the streets of Germany and on a stage filled with waterfalls, sand and the wild elements of earth. And he shot it all in 3D. See It Because: "Pina" eschews the characteristics of a regular documentary and being able to witness her creativity in action -- with genuinely hypnotic 3D technology -- is the best tribute possible to a unique artistic identity. Lastly, It's a German 3D dance film. If you're not at least enticed on a visual level, we're not sure what to tell you. New on DVD & Blu-ray "Death Race 3: Inferno" What's It About?
See full article at Moviefone »

Blu-ray Review: 'Ivan's Childhood' (Criterion Collection)

Andrei Tarkovsky doesn't exactly have the largest filmography, but it's a well respected one that I am only beginning to explore. I've seen Solaris and his final film The Sacrifice, but haven't yet taken the time to explore such highly regarded films as Andrei Rublev and Stalker. With so few feature films to his credit, you'd think it would be easy to see them all, but considering the two I just mentioned clock in at over 160 minutes each (205 for Rublev) I want to be sure I watch them uninterrupted once I give them the chance. This brings me to Criterion's latest Blu-ray presentation of Tarkovsky's feature film debut, Ivan's Childhood, and while watching, three things came immediately to mind, 1.) Ingmar Bergman, 2.) Robert Rossellini's Germany Year Zero and 3.) the mixture of religious imagery and destruction as seen in Ashes and Diamonds. When it comes to Bergman, the visual comparisons are obvious,
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

'End of Watch,' 'Ivan's Childhood' and 'The Paperboy' On DVD and Blu-ray This Week

End of Watch End of Watch made my Top Ten Movies of 2012 so of course I'm going to recommend it. I haven't yet listened to writer/director David Ayer's audio commentary, but I'm looking forward to it as Blu-ray.com's review makes it sound incredibly informative: Writer/director David Ayer offers a scene by scene breakdown of End of Watch, discussing the authenticity of the film at great length, touching on the decision to avoid including a single corrupt cop, providing insight into development and implementation of the multi-camera narrative, and spending plenty of time on everything from the script to the performances to the Pov shifts between the police officers and the gangsters.

 

Ivan's Childhood (Criterion Collection) I have a review of this one in the works and it should be finished by this afternoon. That said, I will tell you I really liked this film and liked
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

What I Watched, What You Watched #177

Busy week of movie and TV watching for me beyond seeing Mama (read my review here) and The Last Stand (read my review here) in theaters. I watched Criterion's new Blu-ray for Andrei Tarkovsky's Ivan's Childhood, which I really liked and am already halfway done with my review and will have finished by Tuesday or Wednesday depending on how long it takes me to finish writing up the 2012 RopeofSilicon Awards. If you're not familiar with what the RopeofSilicon Awards are, this will be the fifth year I've declared my own selection of awards and you can see the previous four years right here. This year I am also going to bring back the vote for the best film of 2012 as I did in 2010 and 2009 and neglected to do last year. Here were the results from 2010 and 2009: 2009 2010 Inglourious Basterds Avatar Up Star Trek The Hurt Locker Up In the Air
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

In January, Criterion Collection Knows Too Much, Revisits Childhood, and Pina Dances to a Tin Drum

Along with providing a level of public service by preserving older and contemporary films judged to be culturally significant, Criterion Collection offer cinephiles the world over a chance to purchase copies of said films that might otherwise be unavailable for purchase. This month Criterion Collection has something of a first on its hands with its release of its first 3D release ever, but if you've ever seen Wim Wenders's Pina, you'd know there was no other way it could be relevant: it's easily the best use of 3D employed in a film to date, and will likely stand as such for a while. Additionally, this month sees the Blu-ray release of the Alfred Hitchcock classic The Man Who Knew Too Much, Volker Schlondorff's The Tin Drum, Monte Hellman's Two-Lane Blacktop, and Andrei Tarkovsky's debut film Ivan's Childhood.

For full details on each release, read on.

Read more.
See full article at JustPressPlay »

Plus Camerimage: Vadim Yusov on His Lifetime Achievement Award

Last week, legendary Russian cinematographer Vadim Yusov was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th annual Plus Camerimage festival in Bydgoszcz, Poland and ComingSoon.net was on hand to speak (through a translator) with the man responsible for the photography in unforgettable celluloid masterworks like Ivan's Childhood , Andrei Rublev and Solaris . Now 83, a young Yusov met an even younger Andrei Tarkovsky in 1960, teaming for the short stage play adaptation "The Steamroller and the Violin." After continuing their creative partnership for over a decade, Tarkovksy and Yusov parted ways just prior to 1975's The Mirror . Yusov, who continues to work on feature films to this day, has also served as the head of Russia's Gerasimov Insitute of Cinematography...
See full article at Comingsoon.net »

Tarkovsky @ 80

  • MUBI
Andrei Tarkovsky, who would have been 80 today — he died too young, 54, at the end of 1986 — has been brought back to many minds lately. One prompt would be the passing just last month of screenwriter Tonino Guerra, with whom Tarkovsky wrote Nostalghia (1983). The two documented the long gestation of Tarkovsky's first film made outside of the Soviet Union in Voyage in Time (shot in 1979 but only officially released in 1983). In this entry, you'll find not only a clip from Voyage but also an excerpt from Pj Letofsky's forthcoming documentary Tarkovsky: His God, His Devil in which Guerra, filmed in 2009, looks back on his collaboration with Tarkovsky.

For a few months now, Geoff Dyer has been sparking conversations about Tarkovsky with Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room, which, as Ethan Nosowsky puts it in the Believer, "Dyer dons a metaphorical head-lamp to mine the ore" of
See full article at MUBI »

'Mirror Mirror' Team Tarsem, Lily Collins & Armie Hammer Talk The Influence Of Andrei Tarkovsky, Breaking The Fourth Wall & Not Fighting Girls

  • The Playlist
"Mirror Mirror" is the latest in a long line of Snow White stories -- "Once Upon A Time" on ABC is ongoing, as is the saga of Snow White and her Fabletown cohorts in the graphic novel series "Fables," with the film "Snow White and the Huntsman" not far behind. The Tarsem Singh-directed film, however, is the most kid-friendly of the bunch, with the evil queen character played for laughs by Julia Roberts. Even if this film only has a touch of the dark side, its stars Lily Collins and Armie Hammer insist "Mirror Mirror" is more modern, because Snow White learns to fight for herself, her prince, and her people. "Our Snow White has no huntsman," Hammer noted, "but it's an over-the-top family comedy. We're not trying to make 'Grapes of Wrath' here." And because it's a Singh film, the visuals are everything, as the two leads and
See full article at The Playlist »

Tonino Guerra obituary

Screenwriter and poet who co-scripted films with Fellini, Antonioni and Tarkovsky

The Italian poet, novelist and screenwriter Tonino Guerra, who has died aged 92, brought something of his own poetic world to the outstanding films he co-scripted with, among others, Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni and Francesco Rosi, but also many non-Italian directors including Theo Angelopoulos and Andrei Tarkovsky. Perhaps his most creative contribution was to Fellini's colourful account of life in a small coastal town in the 1930s, Amarcord (1973), of which he was truly co-author, because the film reflected their common experiences growing up in Romagna.

The two were born in the region a couple of months apart – Fellini in Rimini and Guerra in Santarcangelo, in the hills above the Adriatic resort, the son of a street vendor father.

Guerra's own "amarcord" ("I remember" in dialect) is scattered over many books of poetry and short stories. He first started writing
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Andrei Tarkovsky Collection

(1962-86, 15, Artificial Eye)

There will be no better box set this year than these seven films by Tarkovsky (1932-86), the supreme poet, philosopher and visionary of Russian cinema who was persecuted, humiliated and finally driven into exile by the vindictive Soviet authorities. His first feature, Ivan's Childhood (1962), is one of the great movies about the horrors of the second world war. His second, Andrei Rublev (1966), a portrait of the medieval icon painter, may be his masterpiece. Solaris (1972), his first colour movie, is a metaphysical sci-fi film that's a match for Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Mirror (1975) is a complex, semi-autobiographical film on the turbulent Stalinist era that baffled and infuriated cultural arbiters. In Stalker (1979) he returned to sci-fi territory with a fable set in a horrendous wasteland. His last two masterly allegories were made outside Russia, both starring Ingmar Bergman's closest friend, Erland Josephson, as a troubled intellectual. Nostalgia
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Venice 'Return' to glory

Venice 'Return' to glory
VENICE, Italy -- The Russian movie The Return by first-time director Andrey Zvyagintsev picked up the Golden Lion, Venice International Film Festival's top prize, at the closing-award ceremony. The movie, a visually poetic drama about two boys whose father returns after a 10-year absence to take them on a mysterious journey to a desolate island, won much praise from critics during the 11-day festival and has attracted the attention of several U.S. buyers. It is the first time a debut director has won the Golden Lion since Macedonian director Milcho Manchevski won with Before the Rain in 1994. Zvyagintsev's win will no doubt invite comparisons to his celebrated compatriot and namesake Andrei Tarkovsky, who was "discovered" by Venice in 1962 with his picture Ivanovo Detstvo (Ivan's Childhood). The Return also won the Luigi De Laurentiis Award for best first movie across all sections of the festival, which comes with €100,000 in prize money split between the director and producer Ren Film. The movie is being sold by Intercinema Art Agency. In an emotional moment at Saturday's ceremony, Zvyagintsev dedicated the Golden Lion to Vladimir Garin, the 15-year-old actor who played one of the sons, who drowned shortly after the shoot in the same lake that appears in the movie.

See also

Showtimes | External Sites