Hats off to Elena!
One of the most important and powerful Russian films of the decade - the award-winning psychological drama Elena - has picked up the Grand Prix at the international film festival in Ghent, in the Flemish region of Belgium.
ґAndrey Zvyagintsev`s latest story with universal appeal has recently won a roster of awards, including the Special Jury Prize of the 64th Festival de Cannes, where it had its world premiere earlier this year.
Elena is one of the few Russian productions to appeal to audiences from all over the world, from Africa to Asia.
It is set be released in France next March and in America in May, after which it will travel to Canada, Australia, Greece, Israel, Spain, New Zealand, Turkey and Japan.
Elena, directed by the award-winning author of The Return, Zvyagitsnev, had its Russian premiere on September 28. According to Russia`s foremost producer Aleksandr Rodnyansky, local distributors left some 150 requests for prints of the film, however Elena was released only in 75 cinemas.
The film was also expected to be flying the flag for Russia at the coming Oscars race, however neither Elena, nor Faust, from Aleksandr Sokurov, were chosen by the Russia Oscar committee, which gave its nod to Nikita Mikhalkov`s much-criticized Burnt by the Sun-2 saga.
Elena focuses on a middle-aged couple, Elena and Vladimir, who 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 donations from Elena`s modest pension, and handouts from her rich husband. Vladimir`s daughter Katya 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 even worse is that in reality nothing can erase their deep-rooted social differences, which one day lead to dramatic consequences.