DVD Elena (DVD 16098652),
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Elena

  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • A woman turns to devious means to support her family in this drama from Russian filmmaker Andrei Zvyagintsev. Middle-aged Elena (Nadezhda Markina) first met her husband Vladimir (Andrey Smirnov) when she took a job looking after him following a serious illness. The two bonded and fell in love, but wealthy Vladimir is significantly older than working-class Elena, and their relationship is still centered upon her caring for his needs. Elena has an adult son from a previous marriage, Sergei (Alexey Rozin); he's a hard-drinking slacker who can't hold a job, and Vladimir doesn't care for him, but even though Elena doesn't approve of his lifestyle she feels obligated to help support him and his young son. Vladimir has a daughter, Katerina (Elena Lyadova), who hasn't spoken with him in years, and when he has a heart attack, Elena reaches out to her in hopes they can reconcile before his health fails him. Vladimir and Katerina resolve their differences, but there's an unexpected consequence -- Vladimir announces that he's going to leave his fortune to his prodigal daughter, and Elena must find a way to set aside some of the money to support Sergei and his family without Vladimir knowing about it. ELENA received a special jury award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it was screened as part of the Un Certain Regard program.
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  • Credits
    Nadezhda Markina, Andrei Smirnov, Yelena Lyadova, Alexey Rozin, Evgenia Konushkina, Igor Ogurtsov
  • Critic Reviews
    "ELENA shows Zvyagintsev wisely concentrating on plot, character and social/political context rather than portentous atmospherics. The cumulative impact is stunning."
    Hollywood Reporter

    "[S]pellbinding and impeccably crafted....Performances are superb across the board, framed in elegant widescreen compositions that simmer with violence."
    Los Angeles Times

    3 stars out of 4 -- "There's a kind of fascination in its unblinking portrait of characters who care about nothing but money. It concludes on a note that would distinguish a film noir..."
    Chicago Sun-Times

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