Russia | France | Belgium | Germany 2017
Opening March 15, 2018
Directed by: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Writing credits: Oleg Negin, Andrey Zvyagintsev
Principal actors: Maryana Spyvak, Alexey Rozin, Marina Vasileva, Andris Keishs, Alexey Fateev
Birds twittering in snow-clad woods; a white painted peeling-in-places solitary building. Suddenly, animated adolescents burst through the doors decked in winter gear, and we tag along with one youngster. Director Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan, 2014—Oscar® nominated 2015) unhurriedly shows a family breaking apart, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Oleg Negin. Unblinkingly realistic, Loveless mirrors people’s actions, and the aftermath. Boris (Rozin) and Zhenya (Spivak), consumed by their mutual rage, hurl abusive insults, oblivious to 12-year-old Alyosha (Matvey Novikov). Who feels alone, unwanted and rejected hearing their virulent attacks when often he is the pawn. Not until the school phones enquiring why Alyosha is absent, do the parents notice anything amiss.
Cinematographer Mikhail Krichman’s stunning framing is equally voyeuristic and participatory. Following the parents’ daily routines we learn much from eavesdropping, then during their police questioning, and during the search for Alyosha. Intrigue builds during long takes (shots lasting longer than normal editing pace), and visually imparted clues supplement verbal information. Andrej Dergachev’s sound design and Evgeni Galperin’s music harmoniously coexist that Anna Maas skillfully edits. Revealing as much about us watching as those being watched, from it telling beginning to its ironic ending Loveless is an intense, yet mesmerizing film. It was Russia’s 2018 submission for the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. German synchronization, 127 minutes (Marinell H.)