The Return, released internationally in 2004, tells the story of two Russian boys whose father suddenly returns home after a 12-year absence. He takes the boys on a holiday to a remote island on a lake that turns into a test of manhood of almost mythic proportions.
In contemporary Russia, young brothers Ivan (the younger one) and Andrei have grown a deep attachment to each other to make up for their fatherless childhood. At first, the boys are ecstatic to be reunited with the father they’ve only known from a faded photograph, but they soon strain under the weight of their dad’s awkward and increasingly brutal efforts to make up for a missing decade of parental supervision. Ivan and Andrei find themselves alternately tested, scolded, scrutinized, and ignored by the man through a changing series of encounters and hardships.
Andrei seems to look up to his father while Ivan remains skeptical and gives way to open defiance. Ivan and his father’s test of wills escalate into bitter hostility and sudden violence after the trio arrives at their mysterious island destination.
According to The New Yorker, this first feature by Andrei Zvyagintsev “has the startling, irrepressible quality of the best débuts.”
The Return won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and become the Best Foreign Film at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
One of the best Russian movies.
Directed by: Andrei Zvyagintsev
Starring: Ivan Dobronravov, Vladimir Garin, Konstantin Lavronenko