Elena (2011 film)
|Directed by||Andrey Zvyagintsev|
|Written by||Oleg Negin
|Music by||Philip Glass|
|Distributed by||Zeitgeist Films|
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.
The film depicts the social and cultural distance between the inhabitants of an exclusive apartment in downtown Moscow and a crumbling khrushchevka in Moscow's industrial suburb. Elena is a woman with a proletarian background who connects these disparate worlds. She met Vladimir, an elderly business tycoon, in a hospital when she was his nurse. Their alliance has been described by a critic as "a morganatic marriage nearly a century after the October Revolution".
Elena's son from a previous marriage is poor and wants money from Vladimir to send his 17 year old son to university, keeping him out of the compulsory military service. Vladimir makes it clear that he is not going to subsidize Elena's relatives, and informs her that he plans to make a will leaving his wealth to his only daughter from an earlier marriage. Elena poisons him so that he dies intestate and she inherits half his estate.
Jim Hoberman referred to Elena as "the most vivid evocation... of Moscow’s contemporary society". According to Hoberman, "Zvyagintsev has mapped out a world ruled by ingratitude and the absence of justice". Critic Stephen Holden of The New York Times was impressed by Zvyagintsev's "vision of Moscow as a jungle teeming with predatory wildlife" suggesting that "in this quasi-feudal social environment, avarice and blood ties trump all other values". The Village Voice acclaimed Zvyagintsev's "scalpel-like precision dissecting class that recalls Claude Chabrol". "Shoot this film in black and white and cast Barbara Stanwyck as Elena, and you'd have a 1940s classic", Roger Ebert observes.
- Special Jury Prize of the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival
- Golden Eagle Award for Best Film
- Nika Award for Best Actress
- "Festival de Cannes: Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- "Cannes film festival 2011: The full lineup". guardian.co.uk (London). 14 April 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- Leffler, Rebecca (21 May 2011). "Un Certain Regard Announces Top Prizes (Cannes 2011)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- Nick Pinkerton (2012-05-16). "Family Ties that Break and Bind in Elena and The Color Wheel - Page 1 - Movies - New York". Village Voice. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
- J. Hoberman (2012-05-16). "Hoberman: With "Elena," Andrey Zvyagintsev Vividly Exposes the Moscow of Today". Artinfo. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
- Holden, Stephen (15 May 2012). "'Elena,' by Andrei Zvyagintsev, Set In and Around Moscow". The New York Times.
- "Elena :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
- "European Film Awards: Nominations". European Film Awards. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
- Elena at the Internet Movie Database
- Plakhov, Andrei (2012-11-02). "Interview with Elena director Andrei Zvyagintsev". Russia Now on The Daily Telegraph produced by Russia Beyond the Headlines. Retrieved 4 May 2014.