Directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev
Sept. 30, 1:30 pm, Landmark
Cinemas 9 City Centre
Director Andrei Zvyagintsev (Elena, Leviathan) returns with his usual accomplices, co-writer Oleg Negin and, behind the camera, Mikhail Krichman. This time, they study Russia’s chilly spiritual void through the lens of one middle-class trio’s break-up in 2012. Zhenya (Maryana Spivak), now with an older man, and Boris (Alexei Rozin), whose younger girlfriend is pregnant, are getting divorced. Their bitter, vitriolic arguments, while rarely still home together, lead their son, 12-year-old Alyosha (Matvey Nolvikov), to take drastic action.
With wintry panoramas and slow, steady push-ins, Krichman leads us on and lures us along. This atmospheric allegory glacially hardens and forms the future of today’s Russia becoming an icy, irresolvable thriller.
There’s a near-quizzical interest in how all these self-serving adults are managing their lives: Zhenya constantly checking her phone; a vicious outburst from her hermetic mother gives an appalling glimpse into Zhenya’s upbringing; Boris’ questions to a co-worker about hiding his divorce from their paymasters; his girlfriend, Masha, suddenly gripped by the fear he’ll leave her.
First and last, this masterwork’s about Alyosha and the next generation—what are they inheriting? How many Russian families are being broken apart much like this one? A steadily absorbing, utterly chilling gaze at a society stuck in meltdown.