The Return

The Return

Andrey Zvyagintsev (2003)

12A Certificate


Our Score
Director Andrey Zvyagintsev's debut feature is an enigmatic rite-of-passage drama, in which brothers Vladimir Garin and Ivan Dobronravov are taken on a fishing trip when their missing father (Konstantin Lavronenko) returns to his home in northern Russia after many unexplained years away. Lavronenko tries, gruffly and largely unsuccessfully, to re-establish a relationship with his sons, but their tense journey to a remote island has an ulterior motive, and attempted bonding quickly turns to paranoia and violence. Atmospheric, meditative and drained of warmth by cinematographer Mikhail Kritchman's blue palette, this chilly film refuses to colour in the blanks where backstory might be and, in so doing, Zvyagintsev creates a stunningly beautiful puzzle that brilliantly captures the boys' confusion. Fêted at the festivals of Europe, The Return is cloaked in real-life tragedy - 16-year-old lead actor Garin drowned in the very lake that features in the film, shortly after its completion.


A woman receives a conditional discharge from prison after serving 10 years for killing her husband in a drunken rage - an event she cannot even remember. Rebuilding her life proves easier said than done, especially when she discovers that if she tries to contact her teenage son or touches alcohol again, she will be sent back to jail. Drama, starring Julie Walters, Neil Dudgeon, Ger Ryan and Pauline McLynn.

Cast & Crew

Andrey Vladimir Garin
Ivan Ivan Dobronravov
Father Konstantin Lavronenko
Mother Natalia Vdovina
Director Andrey Zvyagintsev

Other Information

Language: Russian +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: UGC FilmsGuidance: Contains some violence and swearing.Available on: DVDReleased on: 25 Jun 2004