Vozvrashchenie (2003)

GENRESDrama
LANGRussian
ACTOR
Vladimir GarinIvan DobronravovKonstantin LavronenkoNataliya Vdovina
DIRECTOR
Andrey Zvyagintsev

SYNOPSICS

Vozvrashchenie (2003) is a Russian movie. Andrey Zvyagintsev has directed this movie. Vladimir Garin,Ivan Dobronravov,Konstantin Lavronenko,Nataliya Vdovina are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2003. Vozvrashchenie (2003) is considered one of the best Drama movie in India and around the world.

The events of the film unfold over six days and tell about the mysterious journey of a strange man and his two teenage sons who had never seen him before. Vanya and Andrey, for how long they remember, lived with their mother, who once told them that their father was a pilot. But one ordinary Monday, dad appears in their house and takes the brothers on a hike to a small island in the middle of a forest lake.

Vozvrashchenie (2003) Reviews

  • one of the best movies of the decade

    Buddy-512005-02-21

    "The Return," a breathtakingly austere masterpiece from the land that gave us Eisenstein, Pudovkin and Tarkovsky, is one of the most beautifully acted and directed films I have seen in years. Astonishingly enough, this is the feature film debut for director Andrei Zvyagintsev who demonstrates more of a mastery and command of the medium in this his maiden effort than most directors do in a whole body of work. The film tells the tale of two brothers, Ivan and Andrei, who live with their mother and grandmother in a small coastal village in Russia. One day, totally unexpectedly, the boys' father returns after a twelve-year absence. In an effort to make up for lost time, the dad decides to take his sons on a fishing trip, but, almost immediately, he begins to demonstrate disturbing tendencies towards domination and abuse. He also appears to be up to some sort of nefarious business operations to which neither we nor the boys are entirely privy. Every single moment of this film is a revelation. Zvyagintsev beautifully captures the opposite ways in which the boys react to and interact with their father. Andrei, the oldest, is so desperate for a father figure in his life that he is willing to overlook the often inexplicable, bizarre and possibly even dangerous behavior that this particular father exhibits. Ivan, on the other hand, embittered by years of absence and neglect, seethes with barely disguised rage at the man who now presumes to enter into their once happy lives and assert his authority. Of the two boys, he seems the most tuned into the kind of threat the father may pose to their welfare. Yet, towards the end of the story, the apparently latent love the boy feels for this man as his father does eventually rise to the surface. Through this intense interaction, the film emerges as a complex and profound study of what father and son relationships are really all about. It is virtually impossible to put into words just how brilliantly the two young actors use their facial expressions to convey a wealth of meaning and emotion. As portrayed by Vladimir Garin, Andrey looks up to his father with a mixture of boyish pride and trembling awe, longing for the kind of male affirmation he has been deprived of all these years. He is desperate to please his father by proving to him that he can perform the acts of manhood that his dad keeps putting forth for him to do. As Ivan, Ivan Dobronravov spends most of his time glaring at the man, his mouth pursed in a tight unyielding grimace of resentment and hate. If I could give an award for the best performance by a child actor in movie history, these two youngsters would be high on my list of candidates. They are that amazing. Tragically, young Garin drowned two months prior to the release of the film, leaving his indelible mark behind in a performance that will never be forgotten by anyone privileged enough to witness it. Konstantin Lavronenko is equally impressive as the boy's mysterious father, beautifully underplaying the part of a man who can appear sane and rational on the surface but who is a seething cauldron of untapped emotions beneath. In fact, it is this constant threat of violence always on the verge of eruption that keeps us off balance and on edge throughout the entire picture. The film's writers, Vladimir Moiseyenko and Aleksandr Novotosky, deserve special recognition for not allowing the plot to overwhelm the characters. For this is, first and foremost, a great character study. The scenarists have intentionally left the background of the father vague and sketchy, the better to enhance the sense of mystery and danger he represents. We never find out what nefarious activities he is involved with since that is of virtually no importance either to the children or to us. We are too engrossed in the relationships of the characters to care. In fact, there are a few hints towards the end of the film that this seemingly cold, uncaring man, for all his myriad faults, might actually just love his sons in his own strange way. The film leaves us with no easy answers or pat resolutions at the end. And this is how it should be. In fact, the scriptwriters even throw a few of Hitchcock's prized "MacGuffins" into the mix to keep us off balance (there is a scene in which some possibly stolen money sinks to the bottom of a lake that is highly reminiscent of what happens in "Psycho").. Among other things, "The Return" represents one of the most impressive directorial debuts since Francois Truffaut's "The 400 Blows." Zvyagintsev's ability to draw great performances from his actors is only one of his many talents on display here. His lyrical use of composition, as well as the way in which he makes nature and weather an integral part of his drama help to draw us so deeply into this world that it takes the viewer literally hours to get fully back to his own existence again once the movie has ended. It reverberates for days afterwards. For as with any great film, "The Return" finds its way into the depths of one's soul and leaves the viewer a richer person for the experience. Winner of the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival (2003), "The Return" is a true work of art and one of the outstanding films of the decade so far. Whatever you do, don't miss this film.

  • A film of rare beauty and authenticity

    howard.schumann2004-09-06

    In Russian director Andrey Zvyaginstev's The Return, a father (Konstantin Lavronenko) revisits his family after an unexplained absence of twelve years to take his teenage sons on a fishing trip. Winner of the grand prize at the Venice Film Festival, The Return is a film of rare beauty and authenticity about the complex bonds between a father and his two sons and the need to discover one's self. First time director Zvyaginstev leaves much unexplained and the film, while a simple story on the surface, has suggestions of Greek mythology, political allegory, and religious parable. The film takes place in seven days, separated into segments. The two boys, Andrei (Vladimir Garin), who is about 13, and Vanya (Ivan Dobronravov), a year or two younger, are very different but have become attached to each other as a result of their father's absence. As the film opens, Vanya is being taunted by a group of friends and called "chicken" because he is afraid to climb up a huge tower and dive from a pier. When the boys return home, they are astonished to discover their father sleeping on a bed as if posing for a religious painting of the dead Christ. At dinner, the father (who is not named) is cold and uncommunicative except to tell the boys that they will go fishing the next morning and to pass out wine to everyone. To confirm their father's identity, the boys find an old photograph of their father in a Bible adjacent to a drawing of the scene of Abraham about to sacrifice his son Isaac. As they drive through the brooding, isolated Russian countryside on their way to a rendezvous at a remote island, the boys confront their most longed for expectations and also their most dreaded fears. Andrei openly seeks his father's approval but Vanya is rebellious, convinced that he is being kidnapped by a gangster. It is clear that the boys need their father but are baffled by his tough love. On one occasion, the father makes Vanya get out of the car in a heavy rainstorm then drives off only to pick him up soaking wet a short time later. When the boys fail to return from fishing on time, he slaps Andrei so hard that Vanya steals his knife and threatens to kill him. Though the mood is ominous, the father's motives remain unclear. The puzzle is deepened when he uncovers a strong box dug up from the floor of an old ruined house on the island. Is this the payoff from a criminal activity? Is it a treasure the father had buried to give to his sons? One can only speculate. In spite of their anxiety, the boys seem to grow under their father's tutelage and, when Vanya must climb a tower once again, it is clear how far he has come in his journey to adulthood. His father's inability to reach his sons on an emotional level, however, is the ingredient for a tragedy that takes the film to an unexpected conclusion. The director has said that the film is about "the metaphysical incarnation of the soul's movement from the Mother to the Father." I'm not sure exactly what that means but the film taps into the universal need to love and be cared for, and the hurt that results when the need to be sustained and protected is thwarted. The film rekindled sad memories for me of what it felt like to be a child trying to reach a cold and distant father. Together with knowing that the young actor who played Andrei died in a swimming accident after the film was completed, made The Return a moving and painful experience.

  • Resonates long afterward

    peedur2004-12-07

    This film's power is revealed in the contrast between the events as they play out and the questions generated by the enigmatic final moments. It worked firstly as a mysterious, psychological drama, but once the film had ended, it fit the definition of the term allegory perfectly. "The Return" makes a compelling case in favor of a poetically complex narrative over the expectations of 'The Hollywood Ending', where life eventually makes some kind of sense. The absence of a father can create a psychological 'presence' for the family, both seen and felt in the emotional interaction of the children. This complex, yet all too human condition is played out here, not as a narrative sleight of hand (The Sixth Sense) but rather as film poetry. Life's hardest truths sit like a stone in the mouth and won't be broken down easily. The characters in this film seem to be struggling with the absence of their father, but doing so with him present. Visual cues which seem to lead to a metaphorical reading of what's happening are scattered throughout the film. For example, when the the boys see their sleeping father for the first time, he's viewed as Andrea Mantegna's "Dead Christ". The boys dash upstairs immediately afterwords to see if he looks like their father from an old photo. It seems that it's been loosely placed in an old book of engravings - on the page where the angel stays Abraham's hand before he sacrifices his son. Then there is the repeated image of the tower, seeming to both foreshadow and justify a fear of death for the youngest brother. And the mysterious journey to an island, the significance of which changes them all. These don't appear as kitsch cues (as in, "this image stands for this specific idea.") but appear as symbols whose meaning is more poetic than literal. They're tied to the story and can't be extracted. In true Tarkovskian form the filmmaker has bled his symbols of universal references and made them about the characters. And there's the profoundly enigmatic manner of the father, existing for the two brothers in terms of curt preoccupation, edicts, veiled threats, detachment and blunt instruction. He could very well not be there. This causes both boys to respond to him with a mix of outrage, incredulity and bitterness. Its a rare film, well worth seeing, if for no other reason than to marvel at the elegiac force of the story, the photography and at the performances that the director managed to coax from his actors. Both the boys in particular are astonishingly subtle. Highly recommended.

  • A Film Only Russia Could Make

    tuttifrutti022004-11-23

    I've seen many emotional films in my life, but I've never seen a film with as much emotional intensity as Vozvrashcheniye. Even though I don't know what it is like to have a distance or missing parent, I feel I've suffered the same feelings that other children in this situation must have. The emotional content of the film continues if you watch the documentary on the making of the film included in the DVDs extras. This is no ordinary film; the feelings of the director, the cinematographer, the producer, and the personal experiences of each of the actors; words cannot describe the heart every single person put into this film. The insufficiency of words can also be described by the film itself -there isn't a heavy amount of dialogue, and there doesn't need to be (even though for the majority of the film you're screaming at the characters to say something!). To quote from Fyodor Dostoyevsky (a Russian author): "there is immeasurably more left inside than what comes out in words." This little review doesn't do justice to the film for the same reason. It is for this reason, this insufficiency that words have, why films (like this one) need to be created.

  • Special in every way

    Alexandra_Leaving2005-01-13

    I had seen many good reviews for this film but was reluctant at first to watch it as I thought it could be just one of the high art movies which seem to be made for the development of cinematography alone rather than enjoyment of the public and which I find hard to like even though I appreciate them. I watched "The Return" on DVD and I truly think it is special and is very absorbing as well as highly intelligent. I just wish I went to see it in the cinema on the big screen when I had a chance, because the film's cinematography is exceptional and nature views play as big part in the film as actors themselves do. I can close my eyes and still see the lakes, the forest, the vast empty spaces. The film left me feeling elated and clean. I loved the structure of the film, so different to the usual Hollywood movie: nothing is explained and you can think for yourselves. Also I could not guess the ending. The story is simple – the father of two boys was absent for twelve years (he probably was in the prison camp - this is one of the places I can think of where you could be fed a poor diet of fish).The mother never told the boys the truth about him .The father comes back, wants his boys to accept him as the father figure and help them to learn how to survive in this world, but the misunderstanding and flaws in his character play their role. Behind the story many spiritual (and other) layers hide.. One quote comes to mind – that the prophets are never accepted by their own people. Or other layer - Russia itself is often viewed as a parent for its people . The country had a terrible 70-80 years recently when it really was a big prison camp. Now some of the Russian people feel estranged, unloved and sometimes betrayed by their country. It is pity that because the film was in Russian language with English subtitles, some meaning was "lost in translation". I am of the Russian origin and noticed some discrepancies in the subtitles. But it must be very difficult to translate the film like this as there are not many words in it and they often have second-layer meaning. The director Andrei Zvyagintsev must be really congratulated on such a great debut, a masterpiece accomplished on a very low budget. The casting is absolutely perfect – the child actors even look very much as their parents. Vanya looks like his mother, has a personality similar to her, is close to her, where Andrei looks like the father and has more of the father's tough personality. They both are exceptional actors, especially for their age. When you watch the film you don't see the acting, you see the real boys almost like they were filmed by a hidden camera. Konstantin Lavronenko did a particular good job of depicting very complicated personality of the father. Everything is there – pain of the wasted years, love for the boys deeply hidden, scars that some very hard life path left and all this behind the tough facade. I give this movie 10/10

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