7.3/10
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Elena (2011)

Not Rated | | Drama | 29 September 2011 (Russia)
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When a sudden illness and an unexpected reunion threaten dutiful housewife Elena's potential inheritance, she must hatch a desperate plan ...

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21 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Evgeniya Konushkina ...
Igor Ogurtsov ...
Sasha
Vasiliy Michkov ...
Lawyer (as Vasily Michkov)
Aleksey Maslodudov
Ekaterina Tarkovskaya
Ivan Mulin
Nikita Slepchenkov
Yury Borisov
Igor Yurtaev
Yaroslav Zhalnin
Vasily Prokopyev
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Storyline

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. Written by Cannes Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Thy Will Be Done.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

29 September 2011 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

Jelena  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,035, 20 May 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$23,278, 15 June 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene with Elena coming to church was not in the original script. Andrey Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin argued whether it was necessary. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Elena: Get up...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pozner: Andrey Zvyagintsev (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Casta Diva
from the opera "Norma"
Performed by Maria Callas
Written by Vincenzo Bellini
(P) EMI MUSIC INTERNATIONAL SERVICES Ltd.
/ SBA / GALA RECORDS Inc.
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User Reviews

 
"Life-affirming and distinctly directed..."
22 January 2012 | by See all my reviews

Russian screenwriter and director Andrey Zvyagintsev's third feature film succeeding his award-winning feature film debut "The Return" (2003) and "The Banishment" (2007), was written by Oleg Negin and tells the story about Elena, a former nurse who lives with her wealthy husband Vladimir. The middle-aged couple have a good marriage and when Elena's unemployed son Sergey and his wife, who lives nearby, needs financial support, Elena asks her husband to help them. Vladimir is not willing to help her son and when he makes his daughter Katya his sole heiress, their relationship turns cold.

This quietly paced and character-driven drama about a woman who wants to help her son from a previous relationship and a father who wants to help his daughter from a previous relationship, emphasizes the basic struggle for love and how this causes mistrust and distances people from one another. With his precise camera movements, gritty milieu depictions and intimate portrayals of family relations, Andrey Zvyagintsev creates great realism, tension and exceptional scenes of a baby.

This minimalistic study of character is finely photographed by the director's frequent collaborator Mikail Krichman and has a poignant and remarkable instrumental score which creates an efficiently unpredictable atmosphere and reinforces the concentrated narrative structure. A witty, life-affirming and distinctly directed film with prominent and understated acting performances by Russian actresses Nadezhda Markina and Yelena Lyadova, and Russian actor Andrey Smirnov.


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