7.6/10
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The Banishment (2007)

Izgnanie (original title)
A trip to the pastoral countryside reveals a dark, sinister reality for a family from the city.

Director:

Andrey Zvyagintsev

Writers:

William Saroyan (novel), Artyom Melkumyan (screenplay) (as Artyom Melkumian) | 1 more credit »

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5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Konstantin Lavronenko ... Alexander
Maria Bonnevie ... Vera
Aleksandr Baluev ... Mark
Dmitriy Ulyanov Dmitriy Ulyanov ... Robert
Vitaliy Kishchenko ... German
Maksim Shibayev Maksim Shibayev ... Kir
Yekaterina Kulkina Yekaterina Kulkina ... Eva (as Katya Kulkina)
Aleksey Vertkov Aleksey Vertkov ... Max
Igor Sergeev Igor Sergeev ... Viktor
Ira Gonto Ira Gonto ... Liza
Svetlana Kashelkina Svetlana Kashelkina ... Faina
Yaroslava Nikolaeva Yaroslava Nikolaeva ... Frida
Elizabet Dantsinger Elizabet Dantsinger ... Flora
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vyacheslav Butenko Vyacheslav Butenko
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Storyline

A trip to the pastoral countryside reveals a dark, sinister reality for a family from the city.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If you want to kill, kill. If you want to forgive, forgive.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Russia

Language:

Russian

Release Date:

18 January 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Banishment See more »

Filming Locations:

Charleroi, Wallonia, Belgium See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ren-TV See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Connections

Featured in Metropolis: Cannes 2007 - Special (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Für Alina
Composed by Arvo Pärt
See more »

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User Reviews

 
From the outside, characters are clearly sophisticated enough and it is curious why connection never gets there.
24 July 2008 | by crey014See all my reviews

A respectable family drama with its style and lethargic editing its main drawback, "Izgnanie" will also definitely test the patient, even Andrei Zvyagintsev's most loyal of fans. Insecurity over the plot is palpable as film overextends its welcome with pondering and introspective filming that doesn't quite translate well on screen. Plot and cinematography, especially in the countryside, offer some solace to art house fans, however audience will wonder why it took too long to make the point.

Film follows a middle class family as they go to the pastoral countryside, presumably where the paternal character, Alex (Konstantin Lavronenko) grew up. Plot only advances approximately an hour in the picture as a reveal is introduced. Character and story development is sporadic, definitely welcome, as it reminds audience that they aren't watching paint dry. The final act in the film, a flashback, carries the meatier part of the movie as it emphasizes the tragedy that happens earlier. Adultery, abortion and family secrets are aplenty, however seen and are better executed before.

Best actor nod for Konstantin Lavronenko at Cannes 2007 is somewhat deserving. It is indeed a subtle performance, however doesn't hold a candle to other actors vying for the same gong.

With an abundance of establishing shots and transport moving in and out of frame, the film could have easily eliminated 30 minutes of its 2 and a half-hour running time. Anna Mass, the editor, has puzzled together a film that wallows in atmosphere and creates images that are borderline pseudo-cathartic. Such scenes include a 3-minute trailing shot of water flowing from a water source that stopped delivering hydration before. May have functioned as time change and indication of liminal moment, but overly indulgent nonetheless, as it feels that it's delivered as art for art's sake.

Adapted from a novel by William Saroyan, it is clear that translation is also a problem. With the production of the film being abject to the characters, audience is clearly not allowed into these personalities, only as observers. This abjectivity produces lack of engagement that a plot like this could easily flourish on. From the outside, characters are clearly sophisticated enough and it is curious why connection never gets there.

English title is marketed as "The Banishment" as it may signify a plethora of themes and undertones in the movie. It straight up refers to the family's eviction from their 'idealised' Eden in a midtown neighborhood (although clearly far from it as it is depicted as violent and drab), but also refers to the individual isolation of the characters from one another. They are all devoid of communication or any sort of outward emotional connection, except for hate, contempt and the chains of nuclear family. Film becomes a burning effigy to families that are only bonded because they have to.

What could have been a beautifully insightful movie on the danger of disregard of family bonds, film overachieves in being meditative to a fault: dragging its run time to way beyond its limits, diluting its intended purpose. The patient will find satisfaction but will still notice the film's over the top brooding by overstuffing it with non-consequential establishing shots, pretending to be worth more than it is.


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