Aug 18, 2016

Elena (2011)

Elena (2011) movie poster
Elena (Russian: Елена) is a 2011 Russian drama film directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize. It also won a Golden Eagle Award for Best Film and a Nika Award for Best Actress. Nadezhda Markina was also nominated for the Best Performance by an Actress at the European Film Awards and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

When a sudden illness and an unexpected reunion threaten dutiful housewife Elena's potential inheritance, she must hatch a desperate plan ...

Freddy and Krasnaya movie review

K: "Elena" is one of the latest films shot by one of the most famous modern Russian directors, Andrey Zvyagintsev. As usual, it doesn't leave you careless after watching. This film seems really monotonous, showing the daily life of the main characters, Elena, and her husband Vladimir. The picture is very slow, and at some moments it gets frozen, showing only depressing trees without leaves, or the boring lifestyle of each character. This mixture is complemented by wonderfully made music by professional composer Philip Glass. This music brings such a high level of anxiety into you that you always suspect that something will happen.

F: "Accurate portrayal of post-soviet life". That's exactly what I'm not going to say about this film. Everyone (reviewers) is painting a picture of what modern Russia should look like after watching this 1h49m film. Just stop that please. It's a movie about 2 families that suck ass and that's it.

elena at church

F: This is a simple story where nothing really extraordinary happens. You will not feel sympathy for the dying old man because of his lack of compassion towards his wife's family. And you will also not feel sympathy for the wife because she ends up being a gold digger, killing her husband cold-blooded to support her irresponsible and stupid-looking family. This is what is interesting to me in the movie, the gloom of modern Russian society.

K: The main characters, Vladimir and Elena, are an old couple. Both of them have children from previous marriages and this is where they can't find a compromise. Elena blames Vladimir's daughter for being ignorant and selfish, and Vladimir blames Elena's son for being completely spoiled and an irresponsible man. They are from different social strata - he's rich and she's poor. Actually, in the beginning, I didn't understand that they were wife and husband, the cold way they lived, the way they talked with each other, the way they acted, it looked more like an owner and housekeeper relationship. I didn't feel any sympathy for them. They don't feel happy and satisfied being together and in this situation I always ask myself why? Why do people continue living together? In that film, the reason for me was MONEY. Money that Elena's son needs to survive and be able to get another drink. These characters, Sereja and his son Sasha, who don't care about anything in their lives, living a parasite lifestyle, are completely booooòring and I feel disgust and disrespect towards them.

F: Wow stop spitting on my floor Krasnaya, calm down. 😂

lazy sergiy

K: This film might be curious for people interested in learning Russian (the dialogues are not that difficult), for psychological analysis, and for someone who loves depressing stories. For me, this film was really thought-provoking, probably because I found something personal in it.

F: Yep I've chosen this to watch because I'm learning Russkiy. The pace is slow but dark enough to keep me awake; there's a stimulating depressive atmosphere following Elena wherever she goes. The end of the movie is not that satisfying for me, but I can go with it.

Watch an interview with Andrey Zvyagintsev here:

Krasnaya Score: 85/100
Freddy's Score: 68/100

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