Elena // Eлeна

Elena // Eлeна, is the latest feature from powerhouse Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev that chillingly recontextualizes the phrase “family first.” A slow-burn of a crime thriller that corners its female protagonist into executing a plan of deceit, love, and betrayal. More detailed synopsis can be read as follows (via Cannes 2011):

“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.”

Watch the plot unfold in the trailer down below.

Elena // Eлeна, 2011