Keswick Film Club - Reviews - Loveless

Reviews - Loveless

Loveless

Reviewed By Chris Coombes

Loveless
Loveless
Another great film came our way last Sunday at the Keswick Film Club to follow up on a fantastic Film Festival the weekend before. Loveless is a Russian film by director Andrei Zvyagintsev, with some truly stunning performances and beautiful photography. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian summarises the film well: a stark, mysterious and terrifying story of spiritual catastrophe: a drama with the ostensible force of a procedural crime thriller. It has a hypnotic intensity and unbearable ambiguity which is maintained until the very end.

Two rather unpleasant people are parents to a twelve-year-old boy who goes missing after hearing his Mum and Dad arguing violently about their son’s future whilst revealing how much they despise each other. Neither is keen to take responsibility for the boy as they have both moved on to new, apparently much better, relationships. Their son is a beautiful, ordinary boy but they don't seem even to be able to see him much less care for him. What follows is a harrowing examination of what happens to people who live in a loveless world, and how mistakes in relationships are made and remade if the opportunity for dramatic change is missing. All of the players here appear to lack the ability to care – including the police.

Even a group of volunteers who assist the police by undertaking searches for missing people give the impression of being rather cold and anxious only to perform their tasks efficiently and without displaying much compassion.

Through background news on a variety of TVs we understand that the state of the couple's relationship reflects what is going on in Russian society. We are taken to astonishing ruins of once-glorious buildings to search for the boy, and we are left in no doubt as to Zvyagintsev’s opinion of modern Moscow and its middle-class inhabitants who have lost connectivity unless it is via smartphones. There is no neat ending to the story which means that we are left free to think about the wider issues raised in the film – and it is far from comfortable. We do learn, however, that the new relationships that the couple were so keen to pursue to do not - in the end - provide the happiness they were seeking.

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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.

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