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.
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
Elena walks down a hospital corridor crying quietly, then stops at a window and fights back her tears.
Lilya talks to Elena on a mobile phone while in bed, then gets up (she is shown wearing an undershirt and men's boxers), hugs and kisses her boyfriend who is watching a documentary with Slavoj Zizek on a laptop.
Vladimir watches a documentary about a locust infestation on a flatscreen in his hospital room while it's raining hard in the street.
The lawyer visits Vladimir in the hospital. Vladimir's room is shown from outside and we can't hear them talking.
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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