Elena | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR · 109 minutes · 2011

Fans of The Return (2003), the gripping debut feature by Russian actor-turned-director Andrey Zvyagintsev, may be somewhat surprised by this 2011 drama, his third overall but only the second to win U.S. release. Unlike the earlier film with its well-oiled suspense plot, this one is a quiet, subtle mystery whose long, penetrating takes have drawn comparisons to Andrei Tarkovsky and whose mordantly ironic conclusion may remind you of Claude Chabrol. The title character (Nadezhda Markina) is the obedient nurse-turned-second-wife of a haughty, ailing millionaire (Andrey Smirnov); when he moves to revise his will, leaving most of his estate to his spoiled, spiteful daughter, Elena starts poking around in her old pharmaceutical catalog. In Russian with subtitles.
Director: Andrei Zvyagintsev
Producer: Alexander Rodnyansky
Cast: Yelena Lyadova, Nadezhda Markina, Aleksey Rozin and Andrey Smirnov

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