The Return (2003 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andrey Zvyagintsev|
|Produced by||Yelena Kovalyova
|Written by||Vladimir Moiseyenko
|Music by||Andrei Dergatchev|
|Distributed by||Kino International (US)|
It tells the story of two Russian boys whose father suddenly returns home after a 12-year absence. He takes the boys on a holiday to a remote island on a lake that turns into a test of manhood of almost mythic proportions. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
In contemporary Russia, Ivan and his older brother Andrei have grown a deep attachment to each other to make up for their fatherless childhood. Both their mother and grandmother live with them. After running home after a fight with each other, the boys are shocked to discover their father has returned after a 12-year absence. With their mother's uneasy blessing, Ivan and Andrei set out on what they believe will be a simple fishing vacation with him.
Andrei is delighted to be reunited with their father whereas Ivan is full of reservation towards the man whom they only know from a faded photograph.
At first, both brothers are pleased with the prospect of an exciting adventure, but they soon strain under the weight of their father's awkward and increasingly brutal efforts to make up for the missing decade. Ivan and Andrei find themselves alternately tested, rescued, scolded, mentored, scrutinized, and ignored by the man. Andrei seems to look up to his father while Ivan remains stubbornly defensive.
As truck stops and cafés give way to rain-swept, primeval wilderness coastline, Ivan's doubts give way to open defiance. Andrei's powerful need to bond with a father he's never known begins, in turn, to distance him from Ivan. Ivan and his father's test of will escalates into bitter hostility and sudden violence after the trio arrives at their mysterious island destination.
- Vladimir Garin as Andrei
- Ivan Dobronravov as Ivan (Vanya)
- Konstantin Lavronenko as Father
- Natalia Vdovina as Mother
The Return was filmed on and around Lake Ladoga and the Gulf of Finland. The budget of the film remains a secret, though in an interview the director and the producer hinted that it was well below $500,000. The director also mentioned that the producers made their money back even before it was screened at the Venice Film Festival. The film premiered in Russia on 16 October 2003, with the worldwide premiere taking place on 31 October 2003.
Awards and nominations
- Winner, BBC Four World Cinema Award
- Winner, European Discovery of the Year (Fassbinder Award)
- Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film Russia
- Winner, Best Foreign Film
- Winner, Golden Lion
- Winner, Best First Film
- Official website
- The Return at the Internet Movie Database
- The Return at Rotten Tomatoes
- Movie Trailer and Screenshots