For many years now Andrey Zvyagintsev has needed no introduction to the true lovers of cinema.
This Russian director made an explosive debut entry into the international film scene in 2003 by taking home two Golden Lions at the Venice Film Festival with his first film Return. Two separate juries recognized his talent and crowned him with not only the Golden Lion for Best Film in the Official Competition but also for the best first film.
Since that year, the four feature films that followed have confirmed that this triumph was not by chance. The cinematic journey of this self-taught artist started out as an actor at the Novosibirsk Theater. Once in Moscow, in the 1990s, his only film school was the Moscow Film Museum where he immersed himself in cinema, viewing several films a day for ten years.
The flow-on effect of his acting background has been his ability to direct his actors with incredible detail and precision.
The correctness of tone and the sensitivity of his actors recalls the rigor of the method of the Russian school. Several of these actors have received international recognition thanks to his films. Konstantin Lavronenko was awarded the Cannes Film Festival award in 2007 for the film The Banishment. Nadezhda Markina received the Best Actress Award (2011 Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Brisbane) for the film Elena.
Since his debut, Zvyagintsev has always worked with the same team, remaining true to his poetic vision and his favourite subject: the family, in all its variations, in Russia today.
Zvyagintsev is a director of great formal rigor whose aesthetic does not prevent powerful emotions seizing the viewer who thus finds keys to understanding the depth of this mysterious Slavic soul.
Written by Igor Gouskov, who is a highly-regarded journalist, film critic and festival programming consultant and an advisor to the countries of the former Soviet Union for Director’s Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival.