The Man of No Return introduces a genre not new to world cinema, but surprising to the Russian film world. It is a film with many well-drawn characters whose lives and destinies interweave as they cross paths. The basis of the stories can be found in an older couple with three adult children, each living their own life. As Tolstoy wrote: ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’.
The Knyazev family has its own crosses to bear. The viewer discovers them step by step as the destinies and deep secrets of each family member are unveiled. The mother is terminally ill, the father (a former military man) has an unbearable conflict with his son. Two daughters seem to be successful but that is only wishful thinking. Life, love and the pursuit of happiness in a small town somewhere on the river Volga reminds us of life in any small town: fast, modern and lonely.
For an experienced film maker, keeping a storyline with multiple subplots together would be a challenge. It is certainly a huge challenge for a debut director (Grokhovskaya has just finished her film study at Moscow’s VGIK) - but this director has succeeded here. The Man of No Return is a challenging film with quality acting (among the newcomers, a comeback by Galina Jovovich, the mother of Milla), shot with a hand-held camera and maintaining its pace to the end. (LC)

Original title
Chelovek bezvozvratny
Filmmaker
Katya Grokhovskaya, Peter Stepin
Premiere
European premiere
Country
Russia
Year
2006
Medium
35mm
Length
104’
Language
Russian
Producer
Igor Zadorin, Dmitry Rubin
Production Company
ZGfilm
Sales
ZGfilm
Writer
Peter Stepin
Cinematography
Alexei Andrianov
Editor
Katya Grokhovskaya
Music
Yevgeny Galperine
Cast
Sergei Krapiventsev, Tatyana Knyazeva