Elena - Andrey Zvyagintsev's movie on the original screenplay. Here, in difference from the pregoing feature film, full of symbolism, Andrey wanted to turn to reality. Heroes are two families. Vladimir is a wealthy person, confident in his future. Openness of its apartment - force sign. Nostalgia on gold time of the Danish design led by Arne Jacobson was the visual solution of his house. Practically we made all furniture. The decision was to build apartment in the studio. Besides the search of needed apartments gave us nothing.
The idea of his place was in freedom and peace, openness, when you can see any room from another, and all apartment is open for the city. This quiet at the same time is horror for Elena who has no place to hide from her crime. All rooms ascetic and men's and only one small room is given to Elena. Walls are deprived of any decor, pictures, wall-paper, the feeling of truth is given buy huge backdrops and trees behind a windows.
Panoramic windows on the low floor with the old city centre was unachievable in reality.
During creation of the set in studio there was desire to achieve the maximum reality. The decision was to use backdrops most far from windows and place real objects to background, instead of traditional 4 meters, the distance has been increased to 10. Such distance allows us to work comfortably with light and with camera movement the perspective truly works, the horizon moves together with the camera, remaining always in the center. Trees without foliage have been established between a background and a balcony for volume and bigger depth, also they helped to show wind and air perspective. On trees crows occasionally sat, an environment of a water suspension with drops on branches was created. The dop Mikhail Krichman lifted the sun in a shot.
The design of the apartment was in the idea of simple volumes with the complicated finish. That results use of veneer in finishing of set and furniture.
Wood in interior finish:
Floor – the American nut, panels an office – the American nut, bedroom panels + the door – Daniella, doors oar + boxes – Makassar, sliding doors in a bathroom (panels in the aluminum shape) – Lauro Preto, sliding doors in a bedroom – Makassar, doors in the cabinet(5 pieces) – tineo.
the console at the corridor – Lauro Preto, a pier-glass – black rosewood Santos, a table – black rosewood Santos, kitchen – ofra, a dresser kitchen – Lauro Preto
Elena's room - the only room in the apartment with wall-papers. The main thing in it is the mirror and a wall with photos of her family. Contrary to other spaces, it is quite close here, it has not enough light, the window is driven into the corner. The idea was to show Elena's place in the life of Vladimir. She lives separately, unequally, with memory and care of her son.
Family of Elena’s son - the fallen inhabitants without hopes. Their area has been defined by expressive emerald pipes of power plant in combination with mass building 1980th. Set was not thought out, but combined from observations of live interiors. The set is tight, despite the seeming opportunities of movable walls and increased room space for convenience of the camera. The interior style was in combination of varnish surfaces, veneered cabinets, narrowness and clutter, which is a consequence of poverty. In total this divisibility integrated in brown and olive colours of decay.
Set gathered as much as possible from live elements. Windows, doors, accessories undertook from houses under demolition. The contrast combination of plastic and a wood, second hand things, with history. That mix of objects remained from grandfathers and parents together with modern things gives feeling of the present.
Director Andrey Zvyagintsev
DOP Mikhail Krichman
Production Designer Andrey Ponkratov
Set Decorator Maxim
Props Alexandr Losovsky
Set Builder Sergey Kotov, Andrey Grachev