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The Return
File:Vozvrashcheniye movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
Produced by Yelena Kovalyova
Dmitry Lesnevsky
Written by Vladimir Moiseyenko
Aleksandr Novototsky
Starring Vladimir Garin
Ivan Dobronravov
Konstantin Lavronenko
Natalia Vdovina
Music by Andrei Dergatchev
Distributed by Kino International (US)
Release date(s)Template:Plainlist
Running time 105 minutes
Country Russia
Language Russian

The Return (Russian: Возвращение, Vozvrashcheniye) is a 2003 Russian drama film directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev and released internationally in 2004. It tells the story of two Russian boys whose father suddenly returns home after a 12-year absence. He takes the boys on a holiday to a remote island on a lake that turns into a test of manhood of almost mythic proportions. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.


In contemporary Russia, young brothers Ivan (the younger one) and Andrei have grown a deep attachment to each other to make up for their fatherless childhood. Both their mother and grandmother live with them. After running home after a fight with each other, the boys are shocked to discover their father has returned after a 12-year absence. With their mother's uneasy blessing, Ivan and Andrei set out on what they believe will be a simple fishing vacation with him.

Andrei is delighted to be reunited with the father whereas Ivan is full of reservation towards the man whom they only know from a faded photograph.

At first both brothers are pleased with the prospect of an exciting journey, but they soon strain under the weight of their dad's awkward and increasingly brutal efforts to make up for the missing decade. Ivan and Andrei find themselves alternately tested, rescued, scolded, mentored, scrutinized, and ignored by the man. Andrei seems to look up to his father while Ivan remains stubbornly defensive.

As truck stops and cafés give way to rain-swept, primeval wilderness coastline, Ivan's doubts give way to open defiance. Andrei's powerful need to bond with a father he's never known begins, in turn, to distance him from Ivan. Ivan and his father's test of will escalates into bitter hostility and sudden violence after the trio arrives at their mysterious island destination.


  • Vladimir Garin as Andrei
  • Ivan Dobronravov as Ivan (Vanya)
  • Konstantin Lavronenko as Father
  • Natalia Vdovina as Mother


The Return was filmed on and around Lake Ladoga and the Gulf of Finland. The budget of the film remains a secret, though in an interview the director and the producer hinted that it was well below $500,000. The director also mentioned that the producers made their money back even before it was screened at the Venice Film Festival.

Vladimir Garin (ru:Гарин, Владимир Владимирович) died shortly after filming.[1][2]


The film has a 95% rating based on 75 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.[3] It grossed $4,429,093 million worldwide.[4]

Awards and nominations

Venice Film Festival
European Film Awards
  • Winner, European Discovery of the Year (Fassbinder Award)
Palm Springs International Film Festival
  • Winner, Best Foreign Film
Golden Globe Award
  • Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film Russia


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • Rotten Tomatoes
  • Screenshots

Template:The Golden Lion 1990–2009 Template:European Film Award for Discovery of the Year

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