A Russian film from 2003 that Mike Johnston recommended some time ago, The Return has been on the queue since that initial recommendation. But there it sat amongst hundreds of other titles that have been saved on a whim for whatever reason, but the whim or recommendation forgotten. Thankfully Mike mentioned it again recently as something worthy of watching.
While there is a minor photographic element in the story of two brothers and their returned father who takes them on a motoring trip to go fishing, it's really only a passing glance. It is the photography exhibited throughout the film that is most impressive. The compositions evoke Antonioni and the material Tarkovsky. Vast tracts of water, two imposing towers, the mysterious return of a long missing father, his unknown mission, his severe but loving nature. It's all rather Biblical, but impossible to ignore.
The film won a Golden Lion in Venice in 2003 - the same award that Last Year at Marienbad won in 1961.
Interesting trivia: the film was shot - in Russia - on Kodak rawstock in the early 2000's.
Andrei Zvyagintsev - director
Vladimir Garin - Andrey
Vanya Dobronravov - Ivan
Konstantin Lavronenko - father
And then there is the tragedy surrounding one of the actors.