I Won't Come Back

Not available for screening anymore

I Won't Come Back (Ya ne vernus)

Directed by Ilmar Raag

  • Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Kazakhstan, Russia 2014; 109 min
  • Original version: Russian
  • Genre: Drama
    • Special Jury Mention for the Nora Ephron Prize - Tribeca FF


Anya, a young academic raised in an orphanage, is on the cusp of success when she's accused of drug possession. While in limbo hiding from the police, she hits the road with Kristina, another orphan several years Anya’s junior, in search of her possibly mythical grandmother.

Director's Statement

Years ago, as a student, I considered casting a girl from an orphanage in a short film. I visited an orphanage with friends where a social worker told us that we should be levelheaded. The girls could easily become attached-expecting their adoption at the end of the shoot. It was a big responsibility for which I was not ready.
I WON'T COME BACK is a film about the desire for intimacy, to find a home. Anya has almost everything she needs to succeed in the normal, established world, except a family. And over the course of the narrative, she chooses the illusion of family over a “normal” life in the big city, even though true love is most important. In the beginning, she is desperately hoping that somebody will love her. She rather angrily asks for love as if the world should rightfully compensate her for years in an orphanage. However, she learns that only when you give do you truly understand what love is.
It is a fable. The style of the film changes as the story advances. The first third of the film establishes a world of survival. We see that Anya has a potential career at a university. Life is not easy for Anya, but she has a fighter’s spirit. When she’s wrongly accused, the tone is that of a crime-themed-survival film. Then the hitchhiking starts, and the film slows down. Suddenly it is a story about two lost girls who desperately need somebody in their lives. The road becomes symbolic as we witness something changing in Anya. At the second act culminates with Anya declaring to the big city that she “won’t come back.”
The last act of the film is dreamlike. Everything goes wrong, and Anya loses Kristina, the closest person in her life. At this point, the film could come to an end. But then we produce a miracle. It can be seen as one, but it is not deus ex machina. This miracle is well planted in the script; it is ironic and yet moving. It is an ending my team has discussed several times. Anya finds a home with her “new grandmother” although she does so through deception. Anya has not likely found the home she was looking for, but it is up to the spectator to imagine Anya’s fate.
The film triumphs thanks to our two actresses. Polina Pushkaruk is a student with the expertise of a professional actress. She’s been trained in the Stanislavsky Method Acting tradition that emphasizes character psychology. Polina’s attention to detail extended to figuring out Anya’s thoughts during long shots of her walking. Victoria Lobacheva who plays Kristina is our second miracle. Her casting is special because Vika actually comes from an orphanage. It was a big decision, but she is such a natural.




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