The winner of the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize at Cannes 2011, the new film from Russian maestro Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return) is a taut & engrossing moral tale of loyalties, familial ties, and a coveted inheritance. Middle-aged couple Elena (Nadezhda Markina) and Vladimir (Andrey Smirnov), come from different walks of society. He is a well-off businessman; she is a former medical worker, now a housewife. Having met late in life, each has children from previous marriages. Elena’s son is unemployed and constantly asking for money. Vladimir’s daughter is a careless young woman whose contact with her father is irregular and strained. Their worlds rupture when a heart attack puts Vladimir in hospital and he makes a significant decision: his daughter will be the only heiress of his wealth. The shy and submissive Elena’s hopes of helping her son and grandchildren secure a better life are crushed, triggering a desperate plan… With ELENA, Zvyagintsev conjures a riveting and uncompromising vision of a Russia in moral disarray, and a masterful insight into human nature.
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