More exciting than revisiting Zvyagintsev’s 2003 debut is the opportunity to see his neglected 2007 follow-up The Banishment, which is an adaptation of William Saroyan’s novel The Laughing Matter. Premiering at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, where lead Konstantin Lavronenko picked up a Best Actor Award, it’s finally available over a decade later, thanks mostly to Zvyagintsev’s increasing popularity following 2014’s Leviathan and 2017’s Loveless. A more esoteric venture, this odyssey of familial woe plays like a direct homage to Tarkovsky as a husband and wife from the city struggle to survive within the crushing silence of the endless countryside.
From our review at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival: “This is a tale about communication, and how we are often most isolated from those that are in closest proximity to us, a tale about two people, once in love, who no longer know how to speak to one another. And while Konstantin Lavronenko does give an intriguing performance, it’s really the film as whole, all pieced together like a puzzle half assembled, that works majestically.”
Kino Lorber presents The Banishment in 2.35:1 with 5.1 surround sound. DP Mikhail Krichman’s pastoral sequences are nearly matched by some exquisite interior frames in the family’s country manor for a film which as visually haunting as it is narratively mysterious. A couple bonus features are also included.
An eleven-minute interview with Andrey Zvyagintsev finds the director discussing the origins of the project, including the location scouting, script adaptions and other production details.
This twenty-three-minute featurette includes cast and crew behind-the-scenes during the production of The Banishment.
Film Review: ★★★★/☆☆☆☆☆
Disc Review: ★★★½/☆☆☆☆☆