Close Up

1 - 28 April 2018: Close-Up on Andrey Zvyagintsev


Tickets: £10 / £8 conc. / £6 Close-Up members
Box Office: 02037847970

"Stark and austere in both style and theme, the films of Siberian-born Andrey Zvyagintsev explore moral dilemmas and spiritual torment with unabashed, painful honesty. Since his debut feature, The Return, about a mystery-filled reunion between two teenagers and their father, the director has closely examined the subject of family, and all the love, secrets, violence, and betrayals that entails. Leviathan, roundly hailed as a masterpiece, is a complex political allegory about an auto mechanic battling the oppression of the state and church, while confronting personal crises brewing at home. Zvyagintsev’s latest, Loveless, is a gut-wrenching tale about a disintegrating marriage and a missing child. While uncovering the rawest human desires, motivations, and fears, Zvyagintsev allows the audience to sympathize, condemn, despair, or perhaps hope for a better world.

Frequently working with a core team of collaborators – including producer Alexander Rodnyansky, cowriter Oleg Negin, cinematographer Mikhail Krichman, editor Anna Mass, and production designer Andrey Ponkratov – Zvyagintsev creates unsettling, noir-ish tales and richly constructed tableaux. He is a rigorous formalist, an engrossing storyteller, and a biting social critic." – MOMA

The Return
Andrey Zvyagintsev
2003 | 110 min |Colour | Digital
Russian with English subtitles

The father of two teenage boys suddenly reappears, without an explanation, after a 12-year absence. While shocked and puzzled, the boys are eager to make up for lost time, and the three embark on a road trip to rekindle their bond. Yet their secretive father seems to conceal obscure plans and baffles the teens with his bouts of temper and occasional charm. Something sinister hangs in the air in this enigmatic thriller, which combines mysteries with religious allusions. Zvyagintsev’s debut feature premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion and earned the director immediate comparisons to Andrei Tarkovsky, signaling the arrival of a bright new Russian auteur. read more

The Banishment
Andrey Zvyagintsev
2007 | 157 min | Colour | Digital
Russian with English subtitles

Shot in nondescript European locations, The Banishment conjures a permanent sense of isolation and displacement – both physical and psychological. Zvyagintsev’s follow-up to his debut feature, The Return, once again focuses on a father figure, played by The Return’s Konstantin Lavronenko in a Cannes Best Actor Award – winning performance. A man with many secrets, he suddenly moves his family to the countryside. Just as the children begin to adjust to a new life, their world unravels when their mother, played with melancholic resignation by Norwegian-Swedish actress Maria Bonnevie, makes an unexpected announcement. A touch of film noir accompanies this elusive, steadily paced exploration of the mysteries of the human heart. read more

Andrey Zvyagintsev
2011 | 109 min | Colour | Digital
Russian with English subtitles

There’s a huge gulf between the haves and the have-nots. No one knows this better than Elena, a woman of working-class origins who is married to a wealthy, older man – a former patient from her days as a nurse. There is something cold and unsettling about the beautiful home they share, and the menacing cries of crows and a pulsating Philip Glass score seem to portend trouble on the horizon. What initially appears to be a minimalist family drama takes a noir-ish turn in this deliberate, precise drama – at once a morality tale and a commentary on class disparity. read more

Andrey Zvyagintsev
2014 | 140 min | Colour | Digital
Russian with English subtitles

Kafkaesque horror awaits an auto mechanic who wages war against the corrupt, bureaucratic system that threatens to tear apart his home and family. Set in the far-flung Kola Peninsula, on the northwestern tip of Russia, this complex political allegory captures the struggles of ordinary life, common attitudes toward authorities, and behind-the-scenes power plays in a critique of the common people’s debased existence in post-Soviet Russia. Despite the accolades it received around the world, including a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, Leviathan’s grim portrayal of Russia drew stern criticism from the political establishment at home. read more

Andrey Zvyagintsev
2017 | 127 min | Colour | Digital
Russian with English subtitles

Is it possible to give love if one has received little? How selfish can a person be in pursuit of happiness? Can the most horrific mistakes be forgiven? These are some of the questions one must grapple with while watching Loveless. A beautiful, affluent home in Moscow offers everything a family needs, but what if there is no love? When their child suddenly disappears, a divorcing couple must overcome their bitter acrimony to search for the missing boy. This harrowing tale, which unfolds like a thriller punctuated by a pounding and somber musical score, looks at modern life with a piercing gaze. read more






The Return Saturday 28.04.18 6:00 pm Book
Loveless Saturday 28.04.18 8:00 pm Book