Piers Handling selected Andrei Zvyagintsev as one of the best emerging film directors working today and chose the film The Banishment (2007) as an example that best represents his work.
Alex, his wife Vera, and their two children move from their home in the city to stay in his father’s old house in the countryside. As the family adjusts to this new environment, Vera reveals to Alex that she is pregnant by another man. Alex forces Vera to terminate the pregnancy and confronts the man he believes to be the father.
“Zvyagintsev’s achievements in The Banishment are multiple. The timelessness of Russia comes through not just in the film’s landscape…but also in its people…Yet all these in turn are starkly contrasted with time-specific things: industrial cities, cars, guns. And if woman represent fecundity, acceptance, and family, while man evokes violence and jealousy, Zvyagintsev conjoins them through an otherworldly sensibility that moves the human drama into the realm of myth.”
Piers Handling, co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival