Elena and Vladimir are an older couple, they come from different backgrounds. Vladimir is a wealthy and cold man, Elena comes from a modest milieu and is a docile wife. They have met late in life and each one has children from previous marriages.
Elena’s son is unemployed, unable to support his own family and he is constantly asking Elena for money. Vladimir’s daughter is a careless young woman who has a distant relationship with her father.
A heart attack puts Vladimir in hospital, where he realizes that his remaining time is limited. A brief but somehow tender reunion with his daughter leads him to make an important decision: she will be the only heiress of his wealth. Back home he announces it to Elena. Her hopes to financially help her son suddenly vanish.
The shy and submissive housewife then comes up with a plan to give her son and grandchildren a real chance in life.
About Nadezhda Markina
Born in 1959, Nadezhda Markina hails from the Tambov region in western Russia. She graduated from the Lunacharsky State Institute for Theatre Arts in 1983 and honed her craft at the Taganka Theatre and Malaya Bronnaya Theatre between 1992 and 1998. Her diverse roles included those of Regan in Shakespeare’s King Lear and Elizaveta Epanchina in a trilogy based on Dostoevsky’s The Idiot (both at the Malaya Bronnaya). Her performance in Volodin’s Five Evenings won her the Golden Mask for Best Actress in 1998. She has also performed at the Moscow Art Theatre and at the Gogol Theatre, where she worked on a production of Vasily Sigarev’s Black Milk. She has garnered wide recognition for her recent role in Elena, in the internationally acclaimed film directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev.
Jury Comments – Alan Finney
Elena (Nadezhda Markina) seems a very ordinary, natural woman, who is a nurse married to a wealthy man, but who also has to deal with her hard-drinking son and his family. The husband’s estranged daughter is a hard-nosed bitch and Elena takes us on her journey of coping with this complicated situation from the first moment we meet her on screen, sitting in front of a mirror getting herself prepared for her days duties.
Elena…. and in fact all the characters are presented in a most realistic style and there is in fact little dialogue in this film but we still invest in the story which also contains references to the difference between the Russian rich and poor.
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