Reviewed by Lee Hill
For international audiences, Andrey Zvyagintsev is THE Russian director in the way that Andrei Tarkovsky was in the 80s. Since his astonishing debut in 2003, The Return, he has found a way to combine portraits of individuals in crisis with wider examinations of Russia’s inability to move away from totalitarianism. In his last two films, Elena (2011) and Leviathan (2014), relationships between men and women are severely disrupted if not shattered by the social, economic and political dysfunction of Putin’s Russia. Zvyagintsev views the citizens of his fractured homeland not just with the eye of a poet, but a clinician’s knack for making sense of the fragments and the grim reflections of what is left.