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Elena

4.0 out of 5 stars 45 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

None.

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
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 30, 2012
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008MZTKFG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,584 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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I really enjoyed this film. As others have stated, it is not for everyone. It is very reserved and contemplative. I didn't mind the long pauses and thought they contributed to the mood of film. For me, this wasn't so much about Russian life, but the nature of all humans. There are some difficult decisions that have to be made by many of the characters and that is where the payoff is. What do they decide to do? How do you feel about their choice? And then, after putting yourself in their shoes, how do you feel about it on further inspection? Doesn't it relate to all of us in some way? Or at least people we've known.... So this is highly recommended as a thoughtful experience while you are in a mood for calm. If, on the other hand, you are in the mood for an action/adventure, steer clear.
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By garyH on October 22, 2015
Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Not for everyone. I liked it a lot; girlfriend not as much. Very well done. Great cinematography. Powerful yet understated, with plenty of time to absorb the characters and plot. I respond to that kind of story-telling. Others might want more "entertainment'. Depends on your mood and expectations. Nice respite from blockbusters...
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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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Outstanding. It was easy to see early on why this film won so many awards. The cinemetography was extraordinary. The acting was superb. This is a culmination of talent behind and in front of the camera that did not rely on Hollywood hype or celebrity popularty. It is a dark story, yet the actors are so good, the viewer still has much to think about after the credits roll. A must see for anyone who appreciates quality film.
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Not much uplifting in this Russian film as each of the characters is notably despicable in at least one key way. The "hero" of the film, Elena, winds up committing the most despicable act of all, and while it seems it's intended to benefit herself and others close to her, in the end we see that nothing is really going to change. Good acting and sense of place.
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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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