In a Russian coastal town, Nikolai is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man's arrival brings further misfortune for Nikolai and his family.
A story of a simple, naive Russian man Konek and the people around him: his love and her sister and a mysterious man. The film is set in 1957, time of changes, time of waiting for something big to happen.
Deals with the most famous criminal in Czech Republic, the lawyer who continuously tries to free him; the circle of people on both sides of the law who want to keep him in jail and his infamous escape from prison.
Victor Sluzhkin signs on as a teacher of geography in a secondary school in his native Perm (in the Urals) and gets lost in a haze of hard vodka, desperate love for a nymphet-like student ... See full summary »
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
Andrey Zvyagintsev usually doesn't let his actors read the script before filming but he gave it to Andrey Smirnov when he offered Smirnov the role of Vladimir. At first Smirnov, himself a director, had no intention to act in the film and warned Zvyagintsev during the casting that he couldn't interrupt the editing process of Zhila-byla odna baba (2011), his first film in over 30 years. Zvyagintsev came to Smirnov's place about a month after the casting in order to try to persuade him to star and Smirnov said it was out of the question as he was too busy editing his film, but his wife and son, who were at home too, lashed out at Smirnov, saying he couldn't refuse an offer from a director like Zvyagintsev. The latter promised to adjust the filming schedule for Smirnov. In the end, Smirnov filmed his role when he had days off in April 2010 and managed to devote two weeks to filming in May. See more »
After Zvyagintsev's first movie, "The Return", I desperately wanted to see more of his work. He made another movie that I couldn't find, and finally- "Elena". New Russia, few new rich, and not so new, many poor. The land of fake equality became a land of stunning disparity. And the same kind of ruthless, lacking conscience kind of person that thrived in communism, does ever so well in the pool of greed and self-absorption. It was always about money and power, anyway. Cruel world and cruel deeds. What would one do for those he or she loves, no matter how undeserving they are. Apparently everything, even kill. Human capacity for evil surpasses very few things, and the ability to justify evil tops everything else. Hence the world we live in. Very simple actually, but still beyond comprehension of billions.
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