April, 2013 Archives

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I wonder what Zvyaginstev’s The Return is a return to. The plot is simple: two boys go an adventure with their father. The father comes home after a long absence, makes love to their mother, and takes the boys on a trip. The trip is his return. He comes back to an island, and there is treasure involved. The frame above is what happens after the island. Ivan looks at the ocean and we see him observe his loss. No doubt, a perfectly executed picture of absence. I wonder about the return, though. I wonder if it is actually the boys who return: from one state of absence to another. The ocean image is followed by a less glamorous series of frames, but they are louder than previous formalism. The boys start the car and drive away, and we see car tracks in the sand. We look at the tracks for some time. The tracks lead to an adventure and depart from it – a foreshadowing of an absence and its completion. How Zvyagintsev manages to layer one invisible thing on another, past on future, seems inscrutible to me. He does it though, and the emotions that the overlapping tracks elicit are out of this world. Without this frame, this film is nothing.

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The Return