Sunday, August 10, 2008

Andrey Zvyagintsev's new film "The Banishment"

Andrey Zvyagintsev's previous film, "The Return" was winner of the Golden Lion and The Best
First Feature Film Award at the Venice International Film Festival in 2003. Also nominated for
a Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes in 2004, "The Return" was one of the most
impressive first-time feature films of the last decade. "Banishment" sees Zvyagintsev returning
(no pun) to much of the same thematic territory as his previous feature, namely that of familial
conflict, alienation, relationships of ambiguous deception and the protagonists struggle to make
a life of understanding and meaning amidst all of this. Both critically lauded as well as chided for
its Bergman-esque (and sometimes overarching) melodrama and the heaviness of the visual
symbolism depicted through the landscapes, it still manages to succeed in breaking free of a
potential too-weighty representation. In-part just for the stunning overall look of the film and
its rapturous take on the natural world, but most significantly, for its successful depiction of the
strife of displacement and loss felt by characters who's live are unraveling surrounded by a world
of complexity and beauty. This effect notably aided by a fantastic music score, including the
prominent use of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Released by Artificial Eye in the UK, with no
domestic US distribution currently slated. (Its curious how this still happens in the 21st Century):

Link to Artificial Eye "The Banishment" site

Link to Kino Films "The Return" site