Elena is the third feature film by Russian director by Andrey Zvyagintsev, another masterpiece that won the Un Certain Regard award at the Cannes Film Festival. Zvyagintsev was born in 1964 in Novisibirsk. His debut film in 2003 (The Return) received various awards like the Golden Lion, the CinemAwenire Award, the Luigi De Laurentiis Award, the SIGNIS Award and the Sergio Trasatti Award at the Venice Film Festival.
The film is of the classic noir genre and set in modern Moscow where the director fixes his long contemplating scenes on trees, birds and houses in long, yet interesting, scenes.
The film captures the life of a couple in their 60s. Vladimir (Andrey Smirnov) is married to his former nurse Elena (Nadezhda Markina) – who was nominated for the best actress award at the European Film Awards – and they live in his opulent apartment, while the static pace of the film compels us to acknowledge that their marriage is a sort of agreement more than a marriage.
Inevitably the film illustrates ideas about class. Throughout the story Vladimir’s wild daughter despises her father’s wife for being a former nurse. On the other hand Elena’s unemployed son cannot support his big family and this highlights the contradiction with Vladimir's luxurious apartment.
After Vladimir’s sudden heart attack, he reconnects with his daughter, who was very cold towards her father even when she knew about his sudden illness. However, after seeing him a lot changes for her and for him towards his wife.
Zvyagintsev appears to be inspired by Dostoevsky with his slow scenes encapsulating spacious places, nature and the small details of life. He creates his own film identity accompanied by profound Russian music in the background.
The 109-minute classic noir feature vividly depicts the conflict of human nature and their relationship with one another.
Monday 8 October, 9:30pm Galaxy Cinema 67 Abdel Aziz Al-Seoud St, Manial