The Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev is deemed a successor to Andrei Tarkovsky’s metaphysical tradition, yet one markedly bound to the social-political issues of present-day Russia. Ever since his remarkable first feature, The Return, he has paid attention to severed family relationships. His debut provides a lyrical picture of a father’s failed attempt at reuniting with his two sons. A family tragedy in a remote place is also the subject of Zvyagintsev’s second film, The Banishment. The Russian landscape and distorted relationships between parents and children have been a part of all his creations, with the zenith in his career being the drama Leviathan, a story of tragedy and subjugation experienced by ordinary people in contemporary Russia. The emotional aridity of the urban middle class is the theme Zvyagintsev and the screenwriter Oleg Negin have treated in the films Elena and Loveless, with the latter winning the Jury Prize at the 2017 Cannes festival.