Stark and austere in both style and theme, the films of Siberian-born Andrey Zvyagintsev explore moral dilemmas and spiritual torment with unabashed, painful honesty. Since his debut feature, The Return (2003), about a mystery-filled reunion between two teenagers and their father, the director has closely examined the subject of family, and all the love, secrets, violence, and betrayals that entails. His 2014 film Leviathan, roundly hailed as a masterpiece, is a complex political allegory about an auto mechanic battling the oppression of the state and church, while confronting personal crises brewing at home. Zvyagintsev’s latest, Loveless (2017), is a gut-wrenching tale about a disintegrating marriage and a missing child. While uncovering the rawest human desires, motivations, and fears, Zvyagintsev allows the audience to sympathize, condemn, despair, or perhaps hope for a better world.
Frequently working with a core team of collaborators—including producer Alexander Rodnyansky, cowriter Oleg Negin, cinematographer Mikhail Krichman, editor Anna Mass, and production designer Andrey Ponkratov—Zvyagintsev creates unsettling, noir-ish tales and richly constructed tableaux. He is a rigorous formalist, an engrossing storyteller, and a biting social critic.
Organized by La Frances Hui, Associate Curator, Department of Film. Special thanks to Alla Verlotsky of Seagull Films, Alexander Rodnyansky, and Sony Pictures Classics.