Presented as the closing film of Un Certain Regard, Elena is Russian filmmaker Andreï Zviaguinstev’s third film. With his first two films, he has already succeeded in creating his own artistic world – stunning images, oppressive atmosphere and a dark view of things. Elena is the portrait of a woman confronted with the survival of her descendants.
With a Golden Lion awarded for his first film The Return (Vosvrascenie) in 2003, Russian filmmaker Andreï Zviaguinstev is already considered to be a talented cineaste. His second feature film The Banishment (Izgnanie) was selected In Competition at Cannes in 2007 and earned an award for best actor for its lead, Konstantin Lavronenko.
After two teenagers in The Return and a family in The Banishment, Andreï Zviaguinstev took Elena to look at a couple in their sixties. Vladimir and Elena met later in life and each already had a child from a previous marriage. When Vladimir has a heart attack and is hospitalised, he decides to bequeath his fortune to his daughter. Elena realises that if Vladimir dies, she would no longer be able to help her unemployed son and her grandchildren. She concocts a Machiavellian plan.
Much like in The Banishment, Andreï Zviaguinstev focuses on characters, kind, gentle people, who when faced with tragic circumstances, do things that cannot be made right. The filmmaker gives us a very pessimistic view of the world, in which everyone desperately seeks survival and salvation for himself no matter what the price.
B. de M.
The film is showing on Saturday 21 May at 2 pm and 7.45 pm, Debussy Theatre.