Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple's bond of love is severely tested.
A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed.
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.
Elena and Vladimir are an older couple, they come from different backgrounds. Vladimir is a wealthy and cold man, Elena comes from a modest milieu and is a docile wife. They have met late in life and each one has children from previous marriages. Elena's son is unemployed, unable to support his own family and he is constantly asking Elena for money. Vladimir's daughter is a careless young woman who has a distant relationship with her father. A heart attack puts Vladimir in hospital, where he realizes that his remaining time is limited. A brief but somehow tender reunion with his daughter leads him to make an important decision: she will be the only heiress of his wealth. Back home he announces it to Elena. Her hopes to financially help her son suddenly vanish. The shy and submissive housewife then comes up with a plan to give her son and grandchildren a real chance in life. Written by
Cannes Film Festival
During filming, Andrey Smirnov accidentally broke two ribs while "playing around" with his son outside the set. He felt ashamed to tell the truth on set and said he had slipped on the bathroom floor. See more »
I watched six episodes of The Borgias (Season 1) in as many days and decided that I needed a break so I turned patriotic and went to the nearest cineplex to watch Elena. Not a good idea although I returned to The Borgias happier than I had left them - Episode 7 looked like a light comedy compared to Elena.
The best part of the film was the acting by Andrey Smirnov (Vladimir) and Nadezhda Markina (Elena). Actors who play their children are also very talented. The director uses long shots without single edit quite liberally and it creates almost unbearable suspense.
I would recommend this film to anyone who can stomach watching slow-moving horror. It is a scandal that the Russian National Academy of Motion Picture Arts did not nominate Elena for Oscar. The film is brilliant although it does not provide a good respite for watching The Borgias.
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