Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Or you might know it as Vozvrashcheniye.
Or maybe The Return.

Russian films aren't known for their feel-good quality or for being first pick in the disposable entertainment category. However, I'm finding them consistently well-executed, thought-provoking and highly emotional. I'm almost proud to be part Russian :)

The Return is one of my favorite Russian films. The plot is relatively simple: two boys living with their mother in a sleepy coastal village are paid an unexpected visit from their father after a 12-year absense.

At first glance we see the father is trying to make up for lost time by taking the boys on fishing trip. However, the veneer gives way to issues of control and abuse leaving the two boys to face some "adult" situations without preparation. In the end the father has fundamentally good intentions, despite nefarious circumstances. What the two boys learn from their father in his short return is somewhat intense, as is what the brothers learn from each other.

What I liked about this film, despite its austere tone, was the incredible acting job from Konstantin Lavronenko (the father) and the kids playing the two brothers. Each one deserves some sort of award. Although one of the kids died in a boating accident shortly after the film's release, he sure left a mark on the cinematic world with his one and only film.

The Return


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Blogger john said...

I'll give it a try when I've got some time!!

9:08 AM

Blogger Michael said...

Sounds interesting. I wonder if I should find it without subtitles, though. My town's 40%+ Russian, so that might be useful...

9:11 AM

Blogger carl r said...

Nice blog you got here.
I like foreign films, too, but mostly because my girlfriend does (I like Indian food for the same reason). Maybe I'll recommend this one to her, and see what happens!

9:13 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Enjoy John (when you have time)!

7:45 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Definitely Michael. There are similarities between Russian and Hebrew so it might be easy to absorb. "Russian Ark" is also a good one.

7:46 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Thanks Carl. Hopefully she will enjoy this one (while eating Indian food :) )

7:47 AM

Blogger Michael said...

One funny difference I have learned about between Russian and Hebrew:
There is no 'h' in Russian.
This is a common sound in Hebrew (and English, for that matter), and leads to all kinds of pronunciation issues...

If we ever get our DVD player fixed, I'll try to find the film.

8:25 AM

Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

hiya Jim..similarities between Russian and hebrew? dont think so for the recommendation..foreign films tend to be sooooooooooo much more subtantial eh?..:)

9:38 AM

Anonymous Jason said...

Sounds very interesting. I'll have to look for that one. I think the only Russian film I've seen was when I was a teenager. I think it was called Little Vera, it was about a Russian female prostitute.

6:16 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Ah Michael, there is an H in Russian, it just sounds like a throat clearing Hebrew H (thats what made it easier for me).

6:34 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Oh but there are some woman, like the hard H and words that begin with the 'sd', 'zd' and 'shl' sounds:) Y

eah, I have to agree, foreign films seem to take a little more care in delivering something of value rather than disposable entertainment (not that disposable is a bad thing).

6:37 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Jason, I've never seen that one. I'll have to load it up in my blockbuster Q!

6:38 AM

Blogger Michael said...

If the 'h' is so similar, then why do Russians around here replace the hey (that gutteral Hebrew H) with a 'G?'

Or is it just my poor linguistic skills showing through? I've been told that my American accent is pretty bad, b'ivrit...

9:16 AM

Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

sheesh I left my last comment on the wrong a great day Jim!

9:26 AM

Blogger Jim said...


Interesting. It could be a regional difference. Much like Spanish in Mexico is different from Spanish in Cuba, both of which are very different from proper Castillian Spanish.

With Russian it is also a bit tricky since there are other languages like Belarusian and Ukrainian which sound similar to Russian but have some noticeable departures.

9:32 AM

Blogger Jim said...

You too Angel!

9:32 AM


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