The Banishment. 2007. Russia. Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. Screenplay by Oleg Negin, Artyom Melkumyan, Andrey Zvyagintsev, based on The Laughing Matter by William Saroyan. With Konstantin Lavronenko, Maria Bonnevie. DCP. 157 min.
Shot in nondescript European locations, The Banishment conjures a permanent sense of isolation and displacement—both physical and psychological. Zvyagintsev’s follow-up to his debut feature, The Return, once again focuses on a father figure, played by The Return’s Konstantin Lavronenko in a Cannes Best Actor Award–winning performance. A man with many secrets, he suddenly moves his family to the countryside. Just as the children begin to adjust to a new life, their world unravels when their mother, played with melancholic resignation by Norwegian-Swedish actress Maria Bonnevie, makes an unexpected announcement. A touch of film noir accompanies this elusive, steadily paced exploration of the mysteries of the human heart. A Kino Lorber film.