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Soviet History through Soviet Film Series (XIV): The Return

CEES film screening and discussion. Discussant: Margarita Nafpaktitis, UCLA, Charles E. Young Research Library.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
6:30 PM
11348 Young Research Library

The Return (2003)
Dir. Andrei Zvyagintsev
Russian with English subtitles
105 minutes
A mixture of psychological thriller and road movie, The Return tells the story of two young brothers, Andrei and Ivan, who must cope with the sudden and unexplained return of their long absent father. Unusually close and notably protective of each other’s interests, Andrei and Ivan embark on a destination-free road trip with the cryptic father after years of gazing at his image on a torn photograph. As hopes for a caring parent metamorphose into fear of abuse, a family getaway becomes the background for self-discovery and the destruction of deeply rooted emotional investments. As it turns out, the missing spots in the two boys’ pasts run deep, the distance between imagined fatherhood and the man in its symbolic center is breathtaking, and Andrei and Ivan’s need for a newly articulated relationship with parental guidance is a source of impenetrable pain.
At the same time simple and multi-layered, The Return’s narrative is a combination of detailed psychological exploration and bold statements about the processes in which kinship and mankind are forged.
Margarita Nafpaktitis is Librarian for Slavic and East European Studies at the Charles E. Young Research Library. Before coming to UCLA, she was a member of the faculty of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia. Her scholarly interests include Russian Modernism, contemporary Polish prose, Russian/Soviet representations of America(ns) in literature and popular culture, translation and translation studies, and digital humanities. Her teaching experience includes interdisciplinary courses on Russian/Soviet/East Central European film and culture, graduate seminars on 20th and 21st-century Russian prose, and Russian and Polish language.

Cost : Free

Sponsor(s): Center for European and Eurasian Studies, UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library, Slavic Languages and Literatures

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