A real life kidnapping depicts how intimate relationships within a close-knit community are impacted in this Cannes Award-winning film.
CLOSENESS marks the striking directorial debut of Kantemir Balagov, who uses a real-life kidnapping incident to depict how intimate relationships within a close-knit community are impacted. Set within the Caucasus city of Nalchik in the late 1990s, the film shows Jewish and Kabardian communities who live side by side. 24-year-old Ilana (Darya Zhovner) works in her father Avi’s (Artem Tsypin) garage as a mechanic and is close to her brother David (Veniamin Kats). On the night of David’s engagement, her family’s celebrations are halted when they discover that David and his fiancee are kidnapped and a hefty ransom is demanded. The kidnapping impacts Ilana’s family both financially and emotionally as they belong to a Jewish community who decide to raise the ransom money themselves and not get the police involved. To complicate matters, Ilana’s family does not approve of her relationship with a local Kabardian boy. Ilana in turn has to hide her Jewish identity from her boyfriend’s friends. The ethnic tensions coupled with her parent’s financial decisions further isolate Ilana.
Powered by a passionate performance by Darya Zhovner and bold direction by Kantemir Balagov, CLOSENESS announces the arrival of two new names in global cinema. Balagov studied under master director Alexander Sokurov but has carved his own unique path with this film that won the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes (UN CERTAIN REGARD).