Andrey Zvyagintsev, Film Director
The two awards, including the “Golden Lion”, Андрей Звягинцев (Andrey Zvyagintsev) received at the Venice Film Festival in 2003 for his film “Возвращение” (the Return) made him one of the most well-known Russian film director abroad. And he is much better known and loved abroad than in Russia. In our country, critics blamed him for his castrating ideas about Tarkovsky, and then they praised the development of Russian classic film traditions.
His new movie “Eлена” (Elena) is not such a parable one as the “Return”, but rather the observation of how human nature varies depending on social circumstances. The film won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
The heroine of his film, a middle-aged, low-class nurse, is married with an elderly, haughty “new Russian”. Both have children from previous partners. But his money supports the numerous members of her son’s family and thugs, for whom she is ready to do anything.
In an interview to the magazine “Russian Reporter”, Andrey Zvyagintsev said about his new film : “Formally, the action of “Elena” takes place in Moscow in 2011, that is “here and now”. But it could happen “everywhere and nowhere”, because the essence of this story is the consideration of human nature, which from ancient times to the present day, and despite the benefits of civilisation and the fruits of education, remains absolutely barbarous. People are still guided by the call of the womb rather than high ideals.”
Poor people in the film are far less likeable than the rich ones. “At first it is good to understand, whether you can answer at least for yourself and for your life, not mentioning the fact you should answer for your potential children.”
“It’s also a myth that procreation at any cost is a necessity. This is the primarily responsibility, but it is not something of paramount importance to us.”
“People have always been and will always be concerned about money matters. But only recently, I have this feeling that besides money, there is nothing else in people’s mind. Previously, there was something else, some other values, goals and dreams. Earlier this rouble loomed in some distant horizon.”
“I was born here forty-seven years ago. And I have lived here all my life. Unfortunately I don’t know any foreign language. I finished school in 1980, when there was not even the slightest sign that this world would open one day. So for me, to learn English, it like to learn Latin now.”
“To see yourself in all your material insignificance, is not a pleasant thing, but to see the insignificance of your spiritual situation is truly frightening. But it’s necessary to see that. A person should at least realised that it is impossible to live that way, it will be the end. And deep inside me, I still have the hope that he still have it all in him, let aside the disgraced ones, I’m talking about a person who can understand his misery.”
“I believe in the direct look on what you are, and there is hope, because you get a chance to think about yourself.”