The IFI has announced that Andrey Zvyagintsev, winner of the Jury Prize at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, will visit the Irish Film Institute for a special preview screening of Loveless on Sunday, January 28th, followed by a post-screening Q&A. This special event forms part of a retrospective of his work running at the IFI from January 23rd to 31st.
Andrey Zvyagintsev has, with the release of his fifth film Loveless, solidified his reputation as one of the greatest writer-directors working today, with his work compared to that of Andrei Tarkovsky and Béla Tarr.
The retrospective of Zvyagintsev’s work begins on Tuesday 23rd with his third feature, Elena. Elena, played by Nadezhda Markina, is a woman from a poor background who has married Vladimir, an elderly businessman. When a son from her previous marriage approaches her about a loan, Vladimir refuses, leaving Elena to hatch a desperate plan in an attempt to secure her future and help her grandson in this taut and engrossing film.
A special preview of Loveless, Zvyagintsev’s latest, will screen on Sunday, January 28th, followed by a Q&A with the director. Ostensibly a police procedural drama, the film focuses on a separating couple as they search for their missing son. The film – similar to all the director’s work – has much to say about the disaffection and malaise of contemporary Russian society. Loveless opens at the IFI on February 9th.
Also screening on the 28th is Zvyagintsev’s début feature The Return. In this enigmatic and powerful film, 15-year-old Andrey (the late Vladimir Garin) and his younger brother Ivan (Ivan Dobronravov) are surprised at the sudden reappearance of their father (Konstantin Lavronenko) following a decade-long absence. When their father takes the pair on a fishing trip, a rift steadily grows between the two brothers.
Winner of the Best Actor prize at Cannes, The Banishment screens on Tuesday 30th. An adaptation of William Saroyan’s 1953 novel The Laughing Matter, the film attracted further comparisons with Tarkovsky. Alex (The Return’s Lavronenko) lives in seeming domestic bliss with his wife Vera (Maria Bonnevie) and their children until, on a trip back to his childhood home, Vera tells him she is expecting a child with another man. Alex turns to his brother, a man with criminal associations, for advice, which leads to further tragedy.
The final screening in the retrospective will be the Oscar-nominated Leviathan on Wednesday 31st. An epic tale of political corruption with biblical overtones, Leviathan is a hugely ambitious film and was a deserving winner of the Best Screenplay award at Cannes. The layered narrative centres on Kolya, a mechanic working in a coastal town who refuses to sell his land and business to the local bullying mayor.