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32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Winner of Cannes Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize, Elena is a gripping, modern twist on the classic noir thriller. Sixty-ish spouses Vladimir and Elena (award winner Nadezhda Markina) uneasily share his palatial Moscow apartment he s a still-virile, wealthy businessman; she s his dowdy former nurse who has clearly married up. Estranged from his own wild-child daughter, Vladimir openly despises his wife s freeloading son and family. But when a sudden illness and an unexpected reunion threaten the dutiful housewife s potential inheritance, she must hatch a desperate plan... Masterfully crafted by award-winning Russian filmmaker Andrei Zvyagintsev (Golden Globe nominee The Return) and featuring evocative, Hitchcockian music by Philip Glass, Elena is a subtly stylish exploration of crime, punishment and human nature.

DVD Special Features include:

Gorgeous HD master, enhanced for widescreen viewing

Optional English subtitles

30-minute interview with director Andrey Zvyagintsev

Making-of video on the poster screen-printing

U.S. theatrical trailer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Nadezhda Markina, Andrey Smirnov, Elena Lyadova
  • Directors: Andrey Zvyagintsev
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 30, 2012
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,304 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on January 21, 2013
Format: DVD
Maybe `Elena' was just poorly marketed. I wouldn't know because I didn't personally see any advertisements and just happened to stumble onto this when I saw it on Netflix. Apparently some feel this was supposed to be some sort of a noir or a thriller. It's not. `Elena' is more than that. `Elena' is a deeply moving and complex character study that unravels around the relationship between a woman, her husband, his daughter and her son. With long brushstrokes for takes, director Andrey Zvyagintsev delivers what I imagine a Hitchcock film would look like under the direction of Michael Haneke. It is severe, but in a very subtle and observant way, allowing us to get inside Elena's head without feeling beaten over the head by her conundrum of sorts, and the finale is beautifully enriched by an almost stale aftertaste, as if the underscore the decisions of the film's centerpiece. With a brilliant score (truly haunting) and a brilliant leading lady (what Nadezhda Markina does here is remarkable), `Elena' delivers to us a rather remarkable look at the lengths one will go to in order to enrich the lives of those they love, regardless of the cost.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 15, 2012
Format: DVD
"Elena" (2011 release from Russia; 109 min.) brings the story of Elena (played by Nadezhda Markina) and Vladimir, both in their sixties it appears. Married life is not quite what it seems, as Elenea appears to be equally the care-taker, maid, and do-it-all for Vladimir. Only later in the film do we learn that they met some 10 years ago when Vladimir was in the hospital and Elena was his nurse. They eventually married, and it brought economic stability for Elena as Vladimir is well off finacially. We also get to know Elena's son, Sergei, and his family, including his 17 yr old son Sasha, a do-no-good slacker of the first degree who desparately wants to go to university so as to avoid having to serve in the army but can't afford it. Sergei is not much better, essentially being supported by Elena. Last major character in the movie is Vladimir's daughter Katerina, the supposedly "wild and crazy" one (but is she really?), who rarely sees her old man anymore.

Even though the movie starts off very gently (the opening 5 min. or so, all we see is Elena awakening, making coffe and breakfast, and getting ready for the day), it doesn't take long for the tension to start building in the movie. It shouldn't come as a surprise that it's all about the benjamins, of course. Vladimir has lots of it; Sergei and his family not so much and getting more desperate by the day. I won't say more about the plot, you'll just have to see how it all plays out for yourself, but suffice it to say that you are in for quite a few surprises in the last half hour.

The movie plays out at glacial speed, and I mean that as a compliment. The character study of Elena is done beautifully, you can see Elena's despair and conflcit (between her husband and her son) in her face.
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Format: DVD
"Elena" is a spare, meditative drama by Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev that won some awards on the international festival circuit. Elena (Nadezhda Markina) is a housewife of modest origins, married to wealthy Vladimir (Andrey Smirnov). They met when Elena worked as a nurse in a hospital where Vladimir was recuperating. Now they live in a lovely, spacious Moscow apartment, which Elena keeps just as her husband likes. They get along and show genuine affection for each other but sometimes clash when the discussion turns to their grown children. Elena's son Sergey (Alexey Rozin) is chronically unemployed and always asking for money. Vladimir's daughter Katya (Elena Lyadova) is estranged from her father and takes a nihilistic view of life. Things might change when Vladimir has a heart attack and decides to write a will.

I have a weakness for films that tell their stories cinematically, with spare dialogue, but I wondered if this might be an exercise in self-indulgence when I saw that the first shot, of trees in front of Vladimir's apartment, lasts a minute and 20 seconds. This is followed by successive shots of the apartment's interior. Dialogue does not commence for 8 minutes. But I came to welcome these silent contemplations of the environment. There are a lot of long shots of people doing nothing. Vladimir in his car. Elena fixing her hair. The photography is beautiful. The silence is, I believe, intended as realism. The director admits that the screenplay is barely long enough for a film half this length. But "Elena" tells its story by observing routines. We see Elena's daily routine. We are lulled into it. Then we see a break in the routine. The routine told a story; the break will tell another.

Vladimir is a self-made man, now apparently retired.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bob C on May 6, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film, set in Russia, is about a middle-aged woman, a former nurse, who married a businessman who made money and then retired. They live in an elegant (though somewhat austere) modern apartment. He likes to go to an expensive gym, and she likes to visit her ne're-do-well son and his family. She is subordinate in the relationship until...well, you'll have to see it. It's a quiet film with an unhurried pace, but I found the visuals, the narrative, and the tone compelling.
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