When a man feels the tight grip of anxiety in the face of need and uncertainty, when he gets overwhelmed with hazy images of the future, scared for his loved ones, and fearful of death on the prowl, what can he do except give up his freedom and free will, and hand these treasures over willingly to a trustworthy person in exchange for deceptive guarantees of security, social protection, or even of an illusory community?
Thomas Hobbes' outlook on the state is that of a philosopher on man's deal with the devil: he sees it as a monster created by man to prevent "the war of all against all", and by the understandable will to achieve security in exchange for freedom, man's sole true possession.
Just like we are all, from birth, marked by the original sin, we are all born in a "state". The spiritual power of the state over man knows no limit.
The arduous alliance between man and the state has been a theme of life in Russia for quite a long time. But if my film is rooted in the Russian land, it is only because I feel no kinship, no genetic link with anything else. Yet I am deeply convinced that, whatever society each and every one of us lives in, from the most developed to the most archaic, we will all be faced one day with the following alternative: either live as a slave or live as a free man. And if we naively think that there must be a kind of state power that can free us from that choice, we are seriously mistaken. In the life of every man, there comes a time when one is faced with the system, with the "world", and must stand up for his sense of justice, his sense of God on Earth.
It is still possible today to ask these questions to the audience and to find a tragic hero in our land, a "son of God", a character who has been tragic from time immemorial, and this is precisely the reason why my homeland isn't lost yet to me, or to those who have made this film.
- Andrey Zvyagintsev