Cinema - The Return

A father returns home to his wife and two sons after a twelve-year absence. Nobody knows why he went, nobody knows why he has come back. The very next day he takes his kids on a fishing trip. The tension rises as the three of them are forced into roles they are not used to, with tragic repercussions. The Return is a Russian film first-time directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, which ran away with the blue-riband prize in the art-house Oscars, the Venice Film Festival, in 2003. It works on several levels. The plot is compelling. The acting is convincing. The photography is stunningly shot. It has great emotional depth. After it has finished, you realise that it probably has allegorical meaning, too.

The main tension lies in the relationship between father and sons. The sons have accepted fatherlessness as a given, and they react to his return in different ways. The older one responds well, eager for love; the younger one becomes surly and disrespectful. He wonders about his father’s motives. Why did he come back? What is the real reason for the trip? You wonder about the same things, too. After the film is over, you also wonder whether the allegory is religious (the return of Christ) or political (the return of totalitarianism). Perhaps it is meant to be both at the same time. DL

Daddy’s home: and there are problems for the kids in The Return
All Saints Centre, Friars Walk, Lewes
When? 8pm
How Much? £4.50
Lewes Cinema
(w) Website
(t) 01903 523 833