The Return, 2003

Recently watched “The Return” directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (2003). Superb direction, cinematography and acting working a good story. Mystery that is not solved, suspense & human drama without exclamation marks and expletives. A man, a husband a father returns after a 12-year absence and the story unfolds from there. I won’t spoil the story with details here. Views change from long crisp steadicam shots to rough handheld sequences which make total sense in line with the perspective and story the handheld shots are often what is seen from the perspective of the two brothers. One sequence, the father and two boys are in fog and take on an ethereal quality of Gamelan shadow puppets. Amazing performances by the two portraying the brothers (Vladimir Garin, Ivan Dobronravov) and the father (Konstantin Lavronenko)…this is a believable family, even as they are bickering you feel their connection to and love and need for each other. Music was fabulous adding to the mood but not overtaking any scene. Apparently the debut film of this director. No surprise the number of nominations and awards for director, screenplay, cinematography and acting including winner of The Golden Lion, Venice. Wow…I definitely want to check out more from this team. Tragically, the young actor playing Andrey, Vladimir Garin, died soon after the movie was completed. It appears this was his only feature film…what a talent sadly lost.

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