Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

The Banishment 2007


Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

A family tragedy told with incredible visual power by the Russian director of The Return. Best Actor Award, Cannes, 2007. "Truly something to see." — Time

Russia In Russian with English subtitles
150 minutes 35mm / CinemaScope


Oleg Negin
Andrey Zvyagintsev
Artem Melkumjan. Based on the novel The Laughing Matter by William Saroyan


Mikhail Krichman


Anna Mass


Andrey Dergachev
Arvo Pärt


Konstantin Lavronenko
Maria Bonnevie
Alexander Baluev
Maxim Shibaev
Katya Kulkina


Cannes (In Competition), Karlovy Vary, Toronto, London, Pusan 2007


Best Actor, Cannes Film Festival 2007


It’s unlikely that any other narrative film in this year’s Festival will possess the imposing pictorial eloquence of The Banishment. An uneasily married couple and their two children retreat from the city to an isolated house in a magnificent landscape of grassy windswept hills and dry ravines. There they explore the countryside, entertain visitors, and deal in very different ways with the wife’s confession of infidelity. The destructive force of masculine pride endows The Banishment with its baleful power. The integrity of a woman’s passive resistance gives it its overwhelming pathos. The view of the gulf between the sexes in this film is tragic, imbued with Christian mysticism and expressed with an elemental weight that bears comparison to Tarkovsky. Its grandeur will surprise no one who saw director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s masterful début The Return. His narrative structure here is more complex, with the perspective undergoing a radical shift in the plangent final act. — BG
The Banishment pries open, and stares boldly into, the chasm between male and female points of view – questions of love and trust, children and parenting… It is truly something to see; for among all the lives to be ruined it is a visual rhapsody, attentive to every nuance in the spectacular land and foliage around the family home, following the lives within as meticulously as it traces the dramatic changes in weather – from clear day to torrential showers – in one of the longest, most intricate and beautiful tracking shots in cinema.“ — Mary Corliss, Time