Andrey Zvyagintsev • Russia • 2003 • An enigmatic tour of terrain between adolescence and manhood.
Andrey and Ivan are young boys who have been raised almost entirely by their mother. While Andrey remembers his father, Ivan has never met him. Thus their divergent reactions when he shows up at home one day after a 12 year absence. A stern, unforgiving man, Otets takes his boys on a fishing trip, which may be a cover for a more clandestine mission. While Andrey is thrilled to have his father back, Ivan remains suspicious, determined to root out the true reason for his return.
Steeped in the mesmerizing imagery of its aqueous landscape, The Return is an enigmatic, mystical exploration of the uncertain terrain between adolescence and manhood. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s first film premiered at Gijón, where it won Best Screenplay; Thessaloniki, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize; Tromsø, where it won the Audience Award; and Venice, where it won the Luigi De Laurentiis Award, the CinemAvvenire Award, and the Golden Lion for Best Film. The Return is a New York Times Critic’s Pick.