China, 1920s. It is the Age of Warlords and the whole country is in total chaos. Purportedly ruled by an impotent central government, corrupt and…
High Commendation, Achievement in Directing, 2011
Elena and Vladimir are an older couple, they come from different backgrounds. Vladimir is a wealthy and cold man, Elena comes from a modest milieu and is a docile wife. They have met late in life and each one has children from previous marriages.
Elena’s son is unemployed, unable to support his own family and he is constantly asking Elena for money. Vladimir’s daughter is a careless young woman who has a distant relationship with her father.
A heart attack puts Vladimir in hospital, where he realizes that his remaining time is limited. A brief but somehow tender reunion with his daughter leads him to make an important decision: she will be the only heiress of his wealth. Back home he announces it to Elena. Her hopes to financially help her son suddenly vanish.
The shy and submissive housewife then comes up with a plan to give her son and grandchildren a real chance in life.
Although not nominated in this category, the International Jury decided to award a High Commendation to the film’s director Andrey Zvyagintsev.
ABOUT ANDREI ZVIAGINTSEV
Andrei Zvyagintsev was born in 1964 in Novosibirsk, Siberia. After graduating in 1990 from the acting department of Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS), where he studied under Eugene Lazarev, Andrei went on to act in independent theatre, TV and film.
In 2000 he made his directorial debut with three episodes for REN TV’s The Black Room.
Andrei’s first film, Vozvrashchenie (The Return, 2003) was hailed as ‘the cinema sensation of the year’ and ‘a very subtle film about love, loss and transitioning into adulthood’. At the 2003 Venice Film Festival The Return was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film and the CinemAvvenire for Best First Work.
Andrei’s second film, Izgnanie (The Banishment, 2007), premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Leading actor Konstantin Lavronenko, who also starred in The Return, became the first Russian to earn the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor award.
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