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The Return (2003)

Vozvrashchenie (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 25 June 2003 (Russia)
In the Russian wilderness, two brothers face a range of new, conflicting emotions when their father - a man they know only through a single photograph - resurfaces.

Director:

Andrey Zvyagintsev

Writers:

Vladimir Moiseenko, Aleksandr Novototskiy-Vlasov (as Aleksandr Novototskiy)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 31 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vladimir Garin ... Andrey
Ivan Dobronravov ... Ivan
Konstantin Lavronenko ... Otets
Nataliya Vdovina ... Mat
Galina Popova Galina Popova ... Babushka
Aleksey Suknovalov Aleksey Suknovalov ... Zavodila
Lazar Dubovik Lazar Dubovik ... Khuligan
Elizaveta Aleksandrova Elizaveta Aleksandrova ... Ofitsiantka
Lyubov Kazakova Lyubov Kazakova ... Devushka v zerkalakh
Andrey Sumin Andrey Sumin ... Chelovek v portu
Aleksey Proshchikin Aleksey Proshchikin
Viktor Alenin Viktor Alenin
Stas Orlov Stas Orlov
Arseniy Belousov Arseniy Belousov
Sofya Bagdasarova Sofya Bagdasarova
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Storyline

The events of the film unfold over six days and tell about the mysterious journey of a strange man and his two teenage sons who had never seen him before. Vanya and Andrey, for how long they remember, lived with their mother, who once told them that their father was a pilot. But one ordinary Monday, dad appears in their house and takes the brothers on a hike to a small island in the middle of a forest lake. Written by Peter-Patrick76 (peter-patrick@mail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Russia

Language:

Russian

Release Date:

25 June 2003 (Russia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Return See more »

Filming Locations:

Russia See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,795, 8 February 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$502,028, 5 September 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ren Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Official submission of Russia for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 76th Academy Awards in 2004. See more »

Goofs

When Ivan is sitting in the car, the camera pans around the car (before we see him grab the binoculars and begin to use them) - as it pans past the triangular car window you can see the camera reflected in it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[on-screen caption: Sunday]
[boy falls in the water, then floats up]
Zavodila: Jump as we agreed! Who climbs down the ladder is a cowardly wanker.
[swims to the shore]
Boy on Tower: Go on, Vityok. You're next.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Leviathan (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

VI Benedictus
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Resonates long afterward
7 December 2004 | by peedurSee all my reviews

This film's power is revealed in the contrast between the events as they play out and the questions generated by the enigmatic final moments. It worked firstly as a mysterious, psychological drama, but once the film had ended, it fit the definition of the term allegory perfectly.

"The Return" makes a compelling case in favor of a poetically complex narrative over the expectations of 'The Hollywood Ending', where life eventually makes some kind of sense. The absence of a father can create a psychological 'presence' for the family, both seen and felt in the emotional interaction of the children. This complex, yet all too human condition is played out here, not as a narrative sleight of hand (The Sixth Sense) but rather as film poetry. Life's hardest truths sit like a stone in the mouth and won't be broken down easily. The characters in this film seem to be struggling with the absence of their father, but doing so with him present.

Visual cues which seem to lead to a metaphorical reading of what's happening are scattered throughout the film. For example, when the the boys see their sleeping father for the first time, he's viewed as Andrea Mantegna's "Dead Christ". The boys dash upstairs immediately afterwords to see if he looks like their father from an old photo. It seems that it's been loosely placed in an old book of engravings - on the page where the angel stays Abraham's hand before he sacrifices his son. Then there is the repeated image of the tower, seeming to both foreshadow and justify a fear of death for the youngest brother. And the mysterious journey to an island, the significance of which changes them all. These don't appear as kitsch cues (as in, "this image stands for this specific idea.") but appear as symbols whose meaning is more poetic than literal. They're tied to the story and can't be extracted. In true Tarkovskian form the filmmaker has bled his symbols of universal references and made them about the characters.

And there's the profoundly enigmatic manner of the father, existing for the two brothers in terms of curt preoccupation, edicts, veiled threats, detachment and blunt instruction. He could very well not be there. This causes both boys to respond to him with a mix of outrage, incredulity and bitterness.

Its a rare film, well worth seeing, if for no other reason than to marvel at the elegiac force of the story, the photography and at the performances that the director managed to coax from his actors. Both the boys in particular are astonishingly subtle. Highly recommended.


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