Andrey Zvyagintsev made his name as the multi award-winning creator of The Return, a psychological drama about an estranged brutal father and his two teenage sons. His debut feature won two Golden Lion awards in Venice in 2003, along with over 30 other international trophies.
Zvyagintsev's latest movie Elena is also a tough psychological puzzle, dubbed one of the most important Russian movies of the decade.
Read more: Russian movies at Mumbai Film Festival
Elena had its world premiere on the French Riviera earlier this year, when it received the Special Jury Prize and recognition from the public during the 64th Cannes Festival.
Although the story is set in modern-day Russia and revolves around a middle-aged family couple, its seemingly “local” feel has already appealed to audiences all over the world, from Africa to Asia.
Last month, it picked up the Grand Prix at the international film festival in Belgium, while in December the film's lead actress Nadezhda Markina will compete for Europe's equivalent of the Oscars, the European Film Awards.
The film revolves around two main characters, Elena and her husband Vladimir. The problem is, they come from different walks of life. He is a wealthy businessman; she a former medical worker, now an ordinary housewife. Each has children from previous marriages. Elena's son is “permanently unemployed”, with a wife and two children living off Elena’s modest pension, and handouts from her rich husband. Vladimir's daughter is no angel either – even her own father sees her as a hedonist with no ambition. Having met quite late in life, Elena and Vladimir appear to share little in common. What is worse is that nothing – even time – can seem to erase their deep-rooted social differences, which one day inevitably lead to dramatic consequences.
Elena is said to be one of the most highly-anticipated films at the festival in Goa, where its main rivals will be productions from Iran and Japan. The festival will run from November 23 to December 3.
All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.