Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Banishment

Plot Synopsis: During a family's journey away, secrets are revealed that shatter the idyllic vacation. From there, the dark forces swirling around them tighten rapidly, forcing an decision from which there is no return.

One of the great pleasures for me attending film festivals is the discovery of new directors. Over the last 8 years i have become a great fan of films by talented auteurs like Bent Hamer, Gyorgy Palfi, Park Chan-Wook, Miranda July, and director of this powerful movie: Andrei Zvyagintsev. With the body of work from the aforementioned, you can take heart that the future of cinema is in great hands. Indeed, its one of the very key reasons i love working (and now, writing) in this very creative industry. You know that every year, someone, somewhere is going to produce a film that is of immense interest to your own unique love of film.

The start of the movie is a very obvious (now, more so in retrospect) visual clue to the themes that will be slowly revealed throughout its length. Long, meandering takes of a car driving to somewhere, a destination we're not entirely sure about. The road to redemption perhaps? Whatever, like so many journeys we make, its not the destination that's crucial, its how we get there & what happens along the way this is vastly more important. We then get introduced to brothers Mark & Alex whose relationship to each other is unfaltering. No job, task or favour is out of bounds & its this familial bond that gets tested to the extreme later on. Soon we meet the rest of Mark's family, Wife Vera, & their son and daughter. Although the family is away in the country-to Marks Fathers rural retreat, the tensions between the couple are soon very evident. And once the wife reveals her 'secret' things change rapidly and start to head down the only road then can go on-to hell.

Buts thats all i am going to say about the story proper. The rest you'll have to experience for yourself. The only other details i want to mention are the stunning cinematography, the dark haunting foreboding soundtrack, and the understated performances of all the actors.

Like his 1st movie (2003's "The Return") Zvyagintsev's "The Banishment" reaffirms his supreme talent for powerful Symbolic movies that undeniably confirms his position as a more than worthy pretender to the throne of king of Russian cinema! Undoubtedly, Zvyagintsev more than likely is extremely familiar with the demigod of Russian cinema -the other Andrei-Tarkovsky.

If you do enjoy this movie, then you will be stunned by "The Return" as well. Check out the making of doco as well-in particular, the story of the actor who played the eldest son. Whats revealed, makes a great movie even more poignant.

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