Actor Volodia Garin, whose life ended tragically before he even got to see the final cut of "The Return" in which he co-starred. Photo by
Vladimir Mishukov, from the film.
I'm working on a post for tomorrow about naturalism in photography, but in the meantime, thanks for your movie recommendations. Last night I watched "The Return" ("Vozvrashchenie"), a terrific 2003 Russian film written by Vladimir Moiseyenko and Aleksandr Novototsky and directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev. It's a deeply enigmatic story that can be interpreted as allegory—but then, naturalism doesn't preclude allegory. It's not a particularly easy film to watch and not particularly entertaining, but it's emotionally resonant and deeply affecting and can key a lot of good thinking. The cinematography is superb and the film even has a photography leitmotif in the form of a rangefinder camera the boys use intermittently throughout the film and the (yes, naturalistic-style) pictures they take with it revealed at the end. (In reality taken by Vladimir Mishukov.)
Unmistakable allegorical implications: Above, Andrea Mantegna, The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ, 1490; Below, Konstantin Lavronenko as the mysterious returned father the first time his sons see him. (It helps to know art if you're going to watch art-house movies....) The cinematography by Mikhail Krichman is a treat throughout the film.
Outstanding*, and I never would have found it without your help. Many thanks.
P.S. If you intend to watch the movie you probably shouldn't watch the trailer.
*Although not for those who like plots explained and characters' motives made plain.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Wayne: "I rented this movie several years ago. I was, and still am, spellbound by it. To this day I do not know why.... Humanity in the raw."
Featured Comment by ILTim: "I don't remember how I found this movie, but I sure remember that I did. It kicked off a revolution in my TV and movie watching habits. A strong trend I've noticed is that American films are remarkably superficial and slapstick (even the low-key drama types), always with focus on a neat tidy story. While foreign films on the other hand tend to be about people, avoiding the story or at least not bothering to begin and end it in the standard tidy template format. It's refreshing."
Featured Comment by Mike Plews: "We do worry too much about nice tidy stories. If plot was everything we would only watch 'Casablanca' once."