In a Russian coastal town, Kolya 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 Kolya and his family.
Dima Nikitin is an ordinary honest plumber who suddenly decides to face the corrupt system of local politics in order to save the lives of 800 inhabitants of an old dormitory, which is about to collapse.
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 »
In "The Return" we saw a citation from renaissance painting by Andrea Mantenia,"The Lamentation over the Dead Christ", which had been cited also by Tarkovsky in "Soryalis". Then we saw also black and white photography,resembling in texture to that in "The Mirror(Zerkolo)",and tracking back into the forest from open space with the water("The Mirror" and "Sacrifice"). All these citations or reminiscences naturally reminded us of Tarkovsky's cinematographic tradition. So it's not strange that Zvyagintsev was then mentioned as his successor.
But in "Izgnanie" we can see also reminiscences of another,religious and one of the greatest director;Robert Bresson. Children with a little donkey from "Au hasard, Balthazar",the use of windows and doors as symbols of human isolation,framing of shots which make us feel not too close,not too distant form characters... As far as I remember, Bresson wrote about "ironed"shots as his ideal material for editing.For him,and for Zvyagintsev,cinema is not an instrument to "move" viewers' soul,but only a key, through which every viewer's mind must find the way to the higher Order. I would say that Bresson made religious novella in laconic prose, but Zvyagintsev makes religious fable with poetic language.
In this time too, we see reminiscences of Tarkovsky(the composition and camera movement of the first shot,for example),but here an another tradition,which the director follows, is clearly shown.
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