|Winner of the Golden Lion for Best Picture
at the Venice Film Festival, The Return explores powerful
and universal themes of abandonment and reconciliation. The
immensity of the northern Russian landscape (Zvyagintsev was
born and raised in Siberia) echoes the growing distance between
a mysterious man’s attempt to reconnect with the two
sons he abandoned a decade earlier. Perhaps too late, the
stern and overbearing father tries to establish a relationship
by taking the boys on a trip. Ironically, the gap between
them widens with every mile they travel to a remote island.
Seemingly oblivious to his sons’ discomfort, the father
subjects them to various male-bonding rituals in the wilderness:
building a fire, camping on the beach, and scaling a rickety
watchtower. But the physical terrain parallels the psychological
strain and the obstacles prove insurmountable. “It sounds
like a valid question—what is this film about, but I
think this question should not be asked…. To a great
extent the film is an intent mythological look on human life.
This is probably what I would like the audience to keep in
mind before they enter the screening room.”—AZ.
This year’s Russian submission for the Best Foreign
Film Oscar. (105 mins.) Print courtesy of Kino International.
SHOWTIMES: 2/14, 6pm WH and
2/16, 6pm GU.