Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Return - Trailer

I found this trailer of the Russian film The Return which came a few years ago. It is a stunningly beautiful and a haunting film, and one of the strangest I have ever seen. It is almost two years since I saw it and I still remember the experience.



It is a brilliant (and a very sympathetic) analysis of masculinity and fatherhood and the way it connects these to religion and politics (very indirectly) reminds one of the great Russian novels of nineteenth century, specially by Dostoevsky and Turgenev which explored similar themes. This is of course what I thought of it, the film itself resists easy summaries. you have to watch and think about it yourself. Another scene, the credit sequence, here.

10 comments:

Space Bar said...

i thought the beginning of the film was the most stunning thing. as was the scenes where the two boys are on the rotting tower on that island. the rest of it i could easily pass.

someone somewhere made some interesting observations about russia today and why there is so much emphasis on masculinity in their popular culture...will dig it out and send.

Alok said...

hmm. then I think I liked it more than you did. More than the technical aspects (that eerie atmosphere he manages to create and sustain) I was also intrigued by its content and its potential interpretations. A mysterious, cruel and absent father showing his hidden protective side -- the stuff of myths. And the two kids and in fact the older characters too are all terrific. btw, his new film is in Cannes this year in the line up announced today.

Antonia said...

this one is soonish here on the telly, I'll sure be watching it

Alok said...

cool. don't miss it...

antonia said...

i have been seeing it just now, and am still under the impression. it is great. I love the younger son. and somehow before the father is dead it is the big mystery what he is doing there and that afterwards doesn't play a role anymore,what he digged out there. I found it psychological very well filmed, all these nuances, those difficult situations. wonderful that it did not become such a onesided thing.and how first the younger son is much more aware, more critical, while later after the father is dead the elder brother really also is the elder but then in a way that incorporates less harsh masculinity than the one of the father...but somehow I am not so interested in those analyses, i found it just so great how the kids acted, how one could possibily feel in such a situation and what fight it is to get back from the islands, all thos practical problems. the silence and cluellessness in their faces. and then they just drive back because there is nothing else to do.

Alok said...

Yes I agree with what you say... but all those unexplained scenes make one uncomfortable and point to something beyond the story or characters. I found it moving that a father who appears so brutal, aloof and mysterious could die protecting his son.. not really protecting but still, there was something hidden which we didn't know and which surprises us in the end. He is the God-like figure.

also did you notice (it is in the trailer too) that when the two boys are looking at an old photograph of the father and open a book, the book is showing a sketch of the story of Abraham and Isaac...again pointing to a brutal father and some religious connection.

antonia said...

i agree with teh abraham and isaac thing which reminds me of kierkegaard and the moment of silence. god says to abraham go kill your son, abraham and isaac are on the way, but abraham doesnt say a thing and that he is silence all the time, that we does not know anything about his motives is a way that abraham can still obey god and keep the appearance in front of the son.
yes i agree, it is moving that the father dies this way - because there were moments in which he seemed to be genuinely caring. and did you know that the actor who played theelder brother died shortly after the film had been finished...the whole thing is uncanny somehow...
anyway thanks for the suggestion, I should be watching more movies....

antonia said...

and to the moment of silence also would fit that the father's body just drowns, just like with the mysterious box in the boat so it will remain a mystery forever.

Alok said...

yes, I knew about the tragic death of the actor. he drowned in the same lake where the film was shot. it is indeed sad and uncanny.

it is full of such mysterious scenes. it is frustrating initially but it also opens up many doors which is one of the ways the film remains with you long after you have watched it.

another very mysterious film i saw recently was the french film innocence. I had linked to the trailer here. it is a dark and mysterious fairy-tale with potential feminist interpretations. It is actually based on a german play frank wedekind, i don't remember the name but you might be familiar with it. anyway this film is wonderful too.

Antonia said...

i don't find the unexplained scenes at all frustrating, like you say they open doors. I don't like films in which everything is explained.
have heard of the french film and I wonder now whether this is based on a play I know or whether it is based on another one i don't know...my memory. Anyway, Wedekind is pretty good, so it must be a film to look out for.