The Daughter
Film Info
Section:New Directors
Premiere Status:Russia
Year of Prod:2012
Running Time:111
Original Language:Russian
dir:Alexander Kasatkin
Natalia Nazarova
prod:Svetlana Kuchmaeva
Sergei Zernov
scr:Natalia Nazarova
cam:Andrey Naidenov
editor:Olga Proshkina
mus:Aleksandr Manotskov
cast:Maria Smolnikova
Igor Mazepa
Yana Osipova
Oleg Tkachev
Vladimir Mishukov
source:Gorky Film Studio

For sensitive, sheltered teenager Inna, whiling away her days in a provincial Russian town deeply rooted in Orthodox patriarchy and seemingly untouched by the glitz of glasnost that has transformed her country’s urban centers, life doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of comfort or joy. Clinging to her stern, emotionally distant father’s back as they bicycle around their not exactly picturesque village—with adorable younger brother Vovka perched perilously on the handlebars—Inna surveys her surroundings with uncertainty and increasing fear, for a serial killer is on the loose and targeting young girls. When big-city girl Masha arrives on the scene, replete with makeup, porno mags and spirited defiance of local customs, Inna is challenged to question long-held beliefs regarding societal mores, religious dogma and the unpredictable actions of her mysterious father. Meanwhile, the manhunt continues, as a kindly priest struggles with the dangerous secrets he’s privy to in the confessional, a vengeful inspector closes in on a likely suspect and Inna’s innocence is wrenched away through hard-earned wisdom and shocking plot twists. Skillfully merging Inna’s coming-of-age tale with whodunit suspense and a measured critique of nationalist tradition—in this case literally murdering the younger generation—co-directors Alexander Kasatkin and Natalia Nazarova imbue The Daughter with the slow-burn tension of New Romanian Cinema exports and a post-perestroika perspective on dashed hopes in the homeland. (Note: English subtitles are imperfect, though pose no problems in following the story.)
-Steven Jenkins

Additional Information

Alexander Kasatkin

Born in Moscow in 1968, Alexander Kasatkin studied at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography and further developed his filmmaking skills through graduate studies in directing and screenwriting. His 2006 debut feature Listening to Silence earned awards at international film festivals, and he has since directed episodes of Russian television series. In 2012, The Daughter won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Warsaw International Film Festival and the award for best first film at the Sochi Open Russian Film Festival.

Natalia Nazarova

Born in Ramenskoe, Natalia Nazarova graduated from the Russian Academy of Theatre as an accomplished musician and went on to perform lead roles in many Russian stage musicals, films and television series as well as record soundtracks for Russian films. In 2002, she received the Russian Actors’ Guild Award for best performance in a foreign film for her role in Postmark Paradise (2000). Nazarova’s credits as screenwriter include Dura (2005), Kompensatsiya (2010) and The Daughter, which is also her co-directorial debut.