Elena (2011)

It is a film about a woman who takes matters into her own hands after her husband changes his will.

I watched this film recently and I thought I would be bored by it. Something which might put people off foreign cinema is the endless scenes of nothingness. Of normalcy. When we come from a cinema full of nonstop action it is certainly jarring to watch a film where it takes at least an hour to get to the crux of the film. An hour of scenes where people eat, go to the gym, spend time with family and play on games consoles.

The film is in Russian with English subtitles, and was rather an enjoyable film. As films go…While it won’t be getting on my Top 10 list, it was still very easy to get into. Foreign films like this don’t really need repeat viewings unless you are a film scholar or a film enthusiast. The dialogue is inane and yet bit by bit draws you further in to the world of Elena and her husband. The atmosphere is silently soul-destroying and the feeling of entrapment is all-encompassing.

This has certainly encouraged me to explore Russian cinema a little further because earlier examples of cinema that I had known – usually soviet cinema – was quite a heavy, serious genre and really put me off it for the most part. However, while this film is a good way to kill an hour and a half it is not the sort of film I would want to watch more than once. The narrative is simplistic and the characters do little but its still worth watching nonetheless.

It is good that everything is left ambiguous at the end and nobody really gets comeuppance for anything much at all.

MY RATING: *** / *****


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