The Return

2003 Drama

Russian filmmaker Andrei Zvyagintsev makes his feature-film debut with the bleak psychological drama Vozvrashchenie (The Return). Younger brother Ivan (Ivan Dobronravov) and older brother Andrei (Vladimir Garin) live in a small town with their mother (Natalya Vdovina). One summer, the brothers are surprised by the arrival of their long-lost absent father (Konstantin Lavronenko). Although the boys only know him from an old photograph, he still orders them to accompany him on a fishing trip. The stern father then puts his two sons through a series of endurance tests. Doting Andrei is quick to cooperate, while stubborn Ivan is more reluctant to trust him. Ivan wants to know where he's been and what he's up to. After they travel by boat to a deserted island, the father gets even more mysterious. The Return won the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival in 2003. more..

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Starring: Konstantin Lavronenko, Vladimir Garin, Ivan Dobronravov, Natalya Vdovina, Galina Petrova


  • While most films are fortunate if they succeed on any level, The Return works easily on several, making as powerful a mark emotionally as it does visually and even allegorically. Yet the film so catches you up in its compelling story, you're almost not aware of how masterful a piece of cinema you're watching.

    Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times

    20 January 2013

  • Can be interpreted politically or even biblically or not at all, as the elemental struggles between dominance and submission, impulse and action, man and nature, father and son, play out to their stunning conclusion.

    Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly

    20 January 2013

  • At once highly naturalistic and dreamily abstract, playing out its mythic themes through vibrantly detailed characterizations (and remarkable performances by the entire cast). The Return announces the arrival of a major new talent.

    Dave Kehr - The New York Times

    20 January 2013

  • A haunting Russian art film with the economy of a thriller.

    - The Washington Post

    20 January 2013

  • It's not the sort of film one can be said to enjoy, but it is the sort of film that has the clarity of a dream and lingers for hours.

    Stephen Hunter - The Washington Post

    20 January 2013


  • Best Foreign Film

    Association of Polish Filmmakers Critics Awards (2005)

  • Best Non-American Film (Bedste ikke-amerikanske film)

    Bodil Awards (2005)

  • Andrey Zvyagintsev

    Buster International Children's Film Festival (2004)

  • Mikhail Krichman

    Camerimage (2003)

  • Best Cinematography

    Chlotrudis Awards (2005)