Modern-day Moscow. Middle-aged nurse Elena (Markina) is caught in an increasingly unfulfilling marriage with Vladimir (Andrey Smirnov), while getting to grips with his lazy and loveless son.
Impeccably staged and grippingly paced, this Chekhovian chamber drama corroded by the grim realities of life in Putin’s Moscow is dominated by Nadezhda Markina’s outstanding performance as the nurse with loyalties divided between her ailing rich husband and indolent son.
As a snapshot of contemporary Russian life, Elena is a stark and impressive piece of work. Under its brooding exterior is a solemnly effective thriller, too. Recommended.