When a sudden illness and an unexpected reunion threaten dutiful housewife Elena's potential inheritance, she must hatch a desperate plan ...
Release Year: 2011
Rating: 7.4/10 (1,646 voted)
Stars: Nadezhda Markina, Andrey Smirnov, Aleksey Rozin
Elena and Vladimir are an older couple, they come from different backgrounds. Vladimir is a wealthy and cold man, Elena comes from a modest milieu and is a docile wife. They have met late in life and each one has children from previous marriages. Elena's son is unemployed, unable to support his own family and he is constantly asking Elena for money. Vladimir's daughter is a careless young woman who has a distant relationship with her father. A heart attack puts Vladimir in hospital, where he realizes that his remaining time is limited. A brief but somehow tender reunion with his daughter leads him to make an important decision: she will be the only heiress of his wealth. Back home he announces it to Elena. Her hopes to financially help her son suddenly vanish. The shy and submissive housewife then comes up with a plan to give her son and grandchildren a real chance in life.
Release Date: 29 September 2011 Did You Know?
Trivia: User Review
Andrei Zvyagintsev usually doesn't let his actors read the script before filming but he gave it to Andrey Smirnov when he offered Smirnov the role of Vladimir. At first Smirnov, himself a director, had no intention to act in the film and warned Zvyagintsev during the casting that he couldn't interrupt the editing process of
Zhila-byla odna baba, his first film in over 30 years. Zvyagintsev came to Smirnov's place about a month after the casting in order to try to persuade him to star and Smirnov said it was out of the question as he was too busy editing his film, but his wife and son, who were at home too, lashed out at Smirnov, saying he couldn't refuse an offer from a director like Zvyagintsev. The latter promised to adjust the filming schedule for Smirnov. In the end, Smirnov filmed his role when he had days off in April 2010 and managed to devote two weeks to filming in May.
Great, Great Zvyagintsev again !
First I'd like to say that I really understand the point of all
disappointed Zvyagintsev fans after his two previous films:Izgnanie and
Vozvrashchenie .These movies were "global", not only Russian, but "for
This movie is strictly Russian and thats why people did'n like it. In
my opinion this movie shows the real greatness of this wonderful
director Andrey Zvyagintsev. He could continue making "global" movies
"for the world". like Iñárritu or for the end of it like LvT, but he is
a Russian and he made film about the moral situation in Russia.
In 2009 Zvyagintsev was offered 8 million $ from producer Oliver Dungey
to make a film for the end of the world like "The Sacrifice"1986 .I
guess that LvT took the money and did "Melancholia".Instead Zvyagintsev
did "Elena", and this is the end of the world for him: "the end of the
world as we know it" as Charles Foster Kane is saying."Elena' is the
end of the "moral world" as we know it, at least for Zvyagintsev.
This film is about existential values, no other values exist in
post-communist, pseudo-religious Russia.There are only TV values.We can
only hear the "TV preachings" throughout the movie and actually see the
screen just at the end when the family stays at the apartment of the
killed man.So what happens: A rich man is killed by his wife who is a
former nurse, because he do not to put her in his will and the family
of her unemployed son with three kids will stay without support.
"The last will be first." says Elena just before to kill in cold blood
his husband. The mother will do everything for her child and
grandchildren. Love is evil,like Zizek says.In the name of love
,millions of people has been killed.The love towards one is hatred
towards somebody else.The main principle in universe is scarcity, Sartr
says.There isn't enough love nor yet enough money for everyone.So what
we people do? We kill.We kill for money,we kill for love ...we kill for
oil!" A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time
to build up." like they say in the Bible.
This movie is a mixture of "The Shop on Main Street"1965, "Crimes and
Misdemeanors"1989, "Uzak" 2002 and "Cargo 200" 2007 so before to judge
"Elena" please watch these movies first.
I think that "Elena"it is a real 21-st century film.It is film about
"The banality of evil". Evil which is part of us all, the evil of
everyday life. It is an open question of the moral values of the
contemporary society. The question is coming from Russia and from all
the former communist countries : How to live now ,when the "evil
empire" of communism is dead. Where is the moral superiority of the
capitalism? In the "world with TV Religion" is it OK to kill an old and
ill man and to take the money in the name of children?
GREAT GREAT FILM.THANK YOU ZVYAGINTSEV.