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Elena aka Éléna [Blu-ray]
(Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2011)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Non-Stop Productions
Video:New Wave Films
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,075,492,681 bytes
Feature Size: 19,455,535,104 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 11th, 2013
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Russian 1687 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1687 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio Russian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
• Interview withAndrey Zvyagintsev (32:43 in 1080i)
• Trailer (1:42)
Description: Elena and Vladimir come from very different
backgrounds. Vladimir is a wealthy, cold man, while Elena
comes from a modest background, serving as his docile wife.
The two of them have met late in life, each with a child
from a previous marriage.
A woman turns to devious means to support her family in this drama from Russian filmmaker Andrei Zvyagintsev. Middle-aged Elena (Nadezhda Markina) first met her husband Vladimir (Andrey Smirnov) when she took a job looking after him following a serious illness. The two bonded and fell in love, but wealthy Vladimir is significantly older than working-class Elena, and their relationship is still centered upon her caring for his needs. Elena has an adult son from a previous marriage, Sergei (Alexey Rozin); he's a hard-drinking slacker who can't hold a job, and Vladimir doesn't care for him, but even though Elena doesn't approve of his lifestyle she feels obligated to help support him and his young son. Vladimir has a daughter, Katerina (Elena Lyadova), who hasn't spoken with him in years, and when he has a heart attack, Elena reaches out to her in hopes they can reconcile before his health fails him. Vladimir and Katerina resolve their differences, but there's an unexpected consequence -- Vladimir announces that he's going to leave his fortune to his prodigal daughter, and Elena must find a way to set aside some of the money to support Sergei and his family without Vladimir knowing about it. Elena received a special jury award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it was screened as part of the Un Certain Regard program .Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
The corrupting power of money runs through the veins of this superb
Russian film like formaldehyde flowing through a corpse. The story has
an eerie, powerful simplicity: a well-meaning former nurse from a modest
background, Elena (Nadezhda Markina), lives with her wealthy husband,
Vladimir (Andrey Smirnov), in a luxury, modern home. Her penniless son
from her first marriage, Sergei (Aleksey Rozin), wants money for his
son’s schooling, but Vladimir is uninterested: he controls their
finances with a calm, iron will. His own virtually estranged and
difficult daughter, Katerina (Elena Lyadova), from his earlier marriage
is a drain on his emotions already. When Vladimir falls ill, and
questions of inheritance arise, Elena must act to secure her future.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Elena gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from New Wave Films. It max'es out single-layered status with a modest bitrate for the 1 hour 50-minute feature. Colors are brighter and truer than SD could relate but it approaches a waxier appearance without definitively achieving it. Teal can be heavier at times. The 1080P supports solid contrast exhibiting healthy, rich black levels and some minor depth in the 2.35:1 frame. It's pristinely clean showcasing some hi-def detail and there are really no flaws with the rendering. This Blu-ray probably looks like exactly the theatrical version of the film, Elena. It seems devoid of digital noise or other imperfections.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Elena may be notable for its long shots and silent pauses - the New Wave Blu-ray of Elena offers a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1687 kbps or a simpler liner PCM stereo track - both in original Russian. It has hints of separation but everything is of a subtle nature with only a couple of minor aggressive instances notable in the lossless. Nothing but positives here for the audio transfer which seems to accurately reflect the original production without egregious error. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Supplements include a, very informative, 1/2 hour interview with director Andrey Zvyagintsev where features of the film and production are discussed in relative detail. There is also a trailer.
February 9th, 2013
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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