Sunday, May 08, 2005
I have seen this Russian film
In which V. has seen a hauntingly sad Russian film, which was impressive.

I rented this film called The Return. According to the synopsis on the back, it sounded like a grim and intriguing story. I was not disappointed.

Two brothers, Andrei and Ivan, live with their mother and grandmother. Ivan is bullied a lot by his peers and called a coward. His brother doesn't stick up for him much. One day they come home from playing with some other kids, and are told that their father has come home. He's been away for 12 years, since Ivan was only a baby.

Their father has a car, and offers to take them on a fishing trip. Andrei is excited, Ivan is skeptical. Andrei seems happy to have a father figure, and is eager to please his dad. Ivan harbors a lot of anger at having been abandoned. He is even doubtful that this is their father; he suspects that this man is a criminal or some otherwise shady person.

They embark on their trip. Father is stern, sometimes even abusive. He is hard on Ivan. Ivan is surly and belligerent, and most of their father's disciplinary measures are unconventional and really quite unreasonably brutal. It is implied that he has been in prison, or perhaps a war prisoner, despite their mother's insistence that he is a pilot.

Their journey goes off course when father suddenly has some mysterious "business" to take care of. The three of them end up on a remote and deserted island. A tragedy ensues.

I can't give out any details, really. I think the purpose of this film is to make the viewer question his or her judgment. Andrei and Ivan's father seems like a criminal. He seems like an abusive, manipulative tyrant. But is he? Are we seeing this film through our own eyes? Objectively neutral eyes? Or are we seeing events unfold through the angry and resentful eyes of this little boy?

At the end, I was able to come to a conclusion. Things happen fast towards the end of The Return, and I felt that the father's role became suddenly and painfully clear. My heart ached for this family. The complete consuming sorrow of this film has stuck with me all day long. I definitely recommend this. Powerfully moving.