A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
The film required a larger budget than it may seem because the filmmakers wanted "Izgnanie" to be "out of time and place" and did their best so the audience would not guess where and when the film took place. Even car plates and signboards were designed specially for the film. The props were bought in Germany, the "town" part of the film was shot in Belgium and northern France, and the "country" part was shot in Moldova. See more »
Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid. -- Fyodor Dostoevsky
This second feature film from Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev had a lot to live up to considering how great his 2003 debut, The Return, was. I was really a bit skeptical going in because the advanced reviews had been mixed, and I really didn't know how a director who had made such brilliant use of the Russian landscape as almost a perpetually menacing character in its own right, would handle what sounded like a very indoor domestic drama. Boy was I wrong to doubt. Zvyagintsev and cinematographer Mikhail Krichman find an abundance of interesting things to shoot, from drab constantly overcast soviet-era industrial cities to old decaying farmsteads. I love the way these two frame and light almost every shot and the slow stalking way the camera pans and moves is almost deliberately predatory. I'd probably be mesmerized if these two shot nothing but landscapes and people for two hours with no plot whatsoever, which, to be fair, is what the movie feels like at times, considering how minimal and terse the typically Russian script is. The story revolves around a man (played by Konstantin Lavronenko who also starred in the Return), who moves his wife and two young children from the city to his father's old farm in the country where he expects better prospects for work. While in the country his wife reveals something that threatens to tear the family apart. Like the Return, the Banishment is about the tragic consequences of the failure of individuals to make emotional contact, communicate, and ultimately understand each other. Unfortunately the final denouement, which unravels through a few too many twists for a story this simple and sparse, is really unsatisfying because it strips all the characters of any last shred of sympathy, leaving the audience almost indifferent towards them. Still, this was so brilliantly photographed and paced that I couldn't help but enjoy every shot.
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