Cinematryoshka: The score for Zvyagintsev's "Elena"

Today we are going to talk about the latest Andrei Zvyagintsev's film "Elena". Among numerous aesthetic advantages, there is one special feature. The score for "Elena" was written by American composer Philip Glass.

Russian cinema is like a matryoshka: following the recursive method, which in the art criticism is called "mise-en-abîme", it plays with the various meanings. This video-blog is to help you to gain an insight into contemporary (and as in this case - not contemporary, timeless) Russian cinema.

Today we are going to talk about the latest Andrei Zvyagintsev's film "Elena".

"Elena" has already received NHK award at Sundance Film Festival, took the Grand-Prix of the Ghent International Film Festival, took Un Certain Regard - Special Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival, was awarded as the best director at the Durban International Film Festival, Zolotoi Oryol (Golden Eagle) Awards, Nika Awards, was awarded at the Moscow International Film Festival... The list of awards and nominations seems to have no end. Nowadays Andrei Zvyagintsev appears to be to most widely-known Russian film-director.

Among numerous aesthetic advantages, there is one special feature. The score for "Elena" was written by American composer Philip Glass, who marks his birthday on the 31st of January. 

Collaborations of that kind are rather unusual for Russian cinema industry. (Another intresting example we can see in the chilian film "Young & Wild" by Marialy Rivas, for which Russian distributor prepared special soundtrack by Pompeya, that differs from the original.)

As Zvyagintsev recalls: «On the way back home from Los-Angeles, I visited a music shop and I've bought a CD with Glass's symphonies. I've heard the soundtracks, that he had made for some films, but as for his symphonies - I've listened to them for the first time in my life. I immediately understood that this music perfectly matches the image of my film. Then my producer Alexander Rodnyansky wrote a request to Philip Glass to use the 3d part of the 3d Symphony. In response Glass proposed to write an original score for "Elena", however I needed only this one. Finally we came to agreement. The episodes where this music was considered to be used were "The road of Vladimir", "The road of Elena", "The second road of Elena"... And every time the rhythm of music not only chorded with the rhythm of characters' steps - it disclosed some new implications. Every time the music get you stuck in front of the screen in anticipation of something..."

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