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.
Somewhere in Northern Russia in a small Russian Orthodox monastery lives an unusual man whose bizarre conduct confuses his fellow monks, while others who visit the island believe that the man has the power to heal, exorcise demons and foretell the future.
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
Vladimir's profession is never mentioned in the film but Andrey Zvyagintsev and Andrey Smirnov discussed what it could be. They presupposed an elderly rich man from today's Russia could have been a security officer from the KGB, or a functionary of Komsomol (the youth division of the Soviet communist party), or a scientist who went into business after the Soviet Union collapse, and they decided Vladimir should be a scientist because Smirnov didn't look like the other two types. Despite the character's status, Smirnov considered him "an a**hole". 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.
32 of 62 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this