Marriage made in hell
Director: Andrei Zvyagintsev ( The Return )
Stars: Nadezhda Markina, Andrei Smirnov, Yelena Lyadova, Alexey Rozin
Putin it on the record
THIS is life in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. This isn’t much of a life at all. This is Elena.
Through a grim, grimace- inducing portrait of a society where the haves and have- nots have had it up to here, Elena exerts a funereal grip on the viewer that just won’t let go.
Yes, the only way is down for all involved here, whether they be a figure in the story, or a stunned onlooker in the audience.
Director Andrei Zvyagintsev ( best known for his 2003 masterpiece The Return ) limits the pace of his film to a clinical prowl.
This syncs the mood of the viewer to that of the title character, a taciturn Moscow woman in her early sixties trapped in a marriage of inconvenience.
A former nurse, Elena ( Nadezhda Markina, pictured with Andrei Smirnov as Vladimir) married a rich patient to provide for the future of her children. However, after her irascible spouse survives a heart attack and reveals the beneficiaries of his will, Elena must make a move and make it fast.
The style of film-making deployed here is best described as ‘‘ Hitchcock with one heck of a hangover’’.
Deception and intrigue incrementally rise with each scene, as does the disturbing inkling that there is something wrong with modern Russia that no amount of money or power can possibly right.
It’s a deserving winner of a Special Jury Prize in Cannes 2011, with a music score by the great Philip Glass ( Koyaanisqatsi).
Now showing State Cinema