Andrey Zvyagintsev, a prominent filmmaker from Russia known for his family themed dramas, has made quite the name for himself in the last ten years with films such as Leviathan, Loveless and Elena.
Here is our short list of films by Zvyagintsev that we recommend you should watch.
Oscar-nominated film Leviathan has become one of the most important films to come out of Russia in the recent years. It tackles and explores the themes of corruption, family dynamics and friendship.
The film follows Nikolay, played by Aleksey Serebryakov who is forced to fight corruption against the flawed town mayor. Nikolay is joined by his friend Dmitriy, who is a lawyer, played by Vladimir Vdovichenkov. However, it turns out more misfortune and pain come his way due to this new addition of supposed help.
Cast: Aleksey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Roman Madyanov, Anna Ukolova, and Aleksey Rozin.
Loveless, a family-themed based drama, is another splendid film by Zvyagintsev which dives into deep themes with terrific editing, eye-pleasing visuals and real-life characters.
The film follows an unhappy couple going through a divorce, who must team up to find their son Alyosha who disappeared during an acrimonious argument between the couple. Unsurprisingly, Loveless is also an Oscar-nominated film, as it received its nomination in 2018 for Best Foreign Language Film.
Cast: Maryana Spivak, Aleksey Rozin, Matvey Novikov, Andris Keiss, Aleksey Fateev, and Marina Vasileva.
The Return (2003)
The Return, a Golden Globe nominated film, is the first feature film by Zvyagintsev. It focuses on the themes of brothers and family dynamics, much like a lot of Zvyagintsev’s work.
In The Return, two brothers must face conflicting and uneasy emotions as their father, who they only knew from a single photograph, comes back into their life.
Cast: Vladimir Garin, Ivan Dobronravov, Konstantin Lavronenko, and Nataliya Vdovina.
Elena, a 2011 drama that won Best Feature Film at the Golden Eagle Awards in Russia, is another must watch film by Zvyagintsev.
This film follows Elena played by Nadezhda Markina, who must find a new plan when an unexpected illness and an unanticipated gathering loom over her potential inheritance.
Cast: Nadezhda Markina, Andrey Smirnov, Elena Lyadova, Aleksey Rozin and Evgeniya Konushkina.
The Banishment (2007)
The Banishment, a 2007 drama, a film that focuses on themes of family and struggle is another powerful film by Zvyagintsev. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or in 2007.
The Banishment follows a family which goes on a trip to the pastoral countryside, however, it all goes south as a dark and unpleasant truth is revealed in their visit.
Cast: Konstantin Lavronenko, Maria Bonnevie, Aleksandr Baluev, Dmitriy Ulyanov, and Vitaliy Kishchenko.