- Rated: M - violence, offensive language
- Running Length:1hr 49mins
- Cast:Andrey Smirnov, Nadezhda Markina, Elena Lyadova, Alexey Rozin, Evgenia Konushkina
- Sun 11 May:
Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes 2011, this compelling family drama offers a stark portrayal of capitalist Russia.
Elena and Vladimir married late in life. Both have adult children from previous marriages. They are from very different financial backgrounds and as the marriage continues, this begins causing friction. Elenaâ€™s son is unemployed and unable to take care of his family. His constant pleas for money are causing Elena angst because itâ€™s Vladimir who has the money and he begrudges having to spend it on someone he feels has nothing to do with him.
When Vladimir has a heart attack, he reevaluates his life and reconnects with the daughter he hasnâ€™t been close to for years. When he decides to rewrite his will to make Katya the beneficiary, Elena fears for her own future and that of her son and decides to take matters into her own hands.
There are numerous moral questions raised by this film, but the filmmakers choose not to pursue the consequences of the charactersâ€™ decisions. Yet there is deep compassion for the characters and an understanding of the often irrational and unpredictable nature human interactions.
The performances are natural and beautifully subtle. As Elena, Markina is particularly fine. This is not a simple film and it offers nothing in the way of pat solutions or tidy resolutions. And itâ€™s this that makes it so edgy and riveting.