Elena. 2011. Russia. Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. Screenplay by Oleg Negin, Andrey Zvyagintsev. With Nadezhda Markina, Andrey Smirnov. 35mm. 109 min.
There’s a huge gulf between the haves and the have-nots. No one knows this better than Elena, a woman of working-class origins who is married to a wealthy, older man—a former patient from her days as a nurse. There is something cold and unsettling about the beautiful home they share, and the menacing cries of crows and a pulsating Philip Glass score seem to portend trouble on the horizon. What initially appears to be a minimalist family drama takes a noir-ish turn in this deliberate, precise drama—at once a morality tale and a commentary on class disparity. A Zeitgeist Films film.