Directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev
Cornerhouse, 26 October 2012
Zvyagintsev paints an ugly yet curiously compelling picture of contemporary Russia, especially the rudderless young, a generation of pleasure seekers and ne’er-do-wells, always up for a drink or a video game or a somnolent hour or two in front of the TV.
However, the main focus is on Elena (Nadezhda Markina), the recent wife of a fellow who got rich during the Soviet and immediate post-Soviet eras. Thereby lies a key to it all: we don’t know if he was or is KGB, but it seems obvious that his fortune wasn’t acquired through an offer of good customer service. He is like a beast that his wife, and daughter too, fatten and feed off; and he deserves his fate, or so we are led to believe.
Lukacs would have abundantly admired the aesthetic realism of this film. It has a slow, stately pace, which abruptly swerves and accelerates when Philip Glass’s troubling score kicks in.