Sunday, February 11, 2018

Movie with Abe: Loveless

Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
Released February 16, 2018

The dissolution of a marriage is never a pleasant thing to watch. There are often factors, like financial stability and the existence of children, that keep a couple together longer than perhaps they should be, and there may also be an attempt to rekindle whatever affection and romance initially brought them together rather than abandon the relationship completely. And then there are the times when two people can’t stand to be with one another, and they’ll do anything possible to separate fully, letting their hatred for each other fuel their every interaction and overwhelm anything else in their lives.

Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) and Boris (Aleksey Rozin) both share an equal disdain for each other, and have already moved on with their lives despite still being officially married, each spending most of their time with a new partner that makes them much happier than the sight of their spouse does. Caught in all this is their twelve-year-old son Alyosha (Matvey Novikov), who hears their fights and how both express no desire to care for him when they officially split. When Alyosha goes missing, Zhenya and Boris are pulled together to try to find the child they have neglected.

“Loveless” is Russia’s Oscar entry for Best Foreign Film this year, and it’s also director Andrrey Zvyagintsev’s follow-up to the film that earned him an Oscar nomination three years ago, “Leviathan.” This similarly dreary and miserable film is a worthy successor to that one, presenting characters who are complex in the sheer passion they express as rage towards each other. Alyosha is lambasted by his mother as barely a man and constantly crying to prospective buyers of their apartment, and that’s about all the recognition he gets from either of his parents, who are too obsessed with bad-mouthing each other to anyone they meet to remember that he exists.

This film, representing its country, paints an interesting picture of how these two parents see their situation. Zhenya is relieved to be with a man who doesn’t inspire such anger in her since he rises to challenges and doesn’t let things in their life fall apart, while Boris panics about his religious boss discovering that he is getting divorced since it will surely mean his ejection from the family-oriented company. Watching these two explode at each other and decompress apart as their son gets lost in the chaos is certainly intriguing. The film’s ultimate direction, which takes some time to reach, isn’t nearly as satisfying.


No comments: