Cannes Diary 2 – A Family At War, Cultures At Peace

Posted on June 3, 2017


Read the full text on Film Companion, here:

Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev’s much-awaited follow-up to Leviathan, his international art-house hit, is one of those films that perfectly captures the essence of its title: Nelyubov (Loveless). The opening frames are of winter, barren trees frosted with ice. It’s chillier inside the house of Boris (Aleksey Rozin) and Zhenya (Maryana Spivak), who are on the verge of divorce. “I’ve had it with you,” he yells at her. “Scumbag,” she replies. The press notes said the film is inspired by Scenes from a Marriage, but Zvyagintsev’s unrelenting unsentimentality makes Bergman look almost like Spielberg.

The film’s summary states that it’s about “the disappearance of a 12-year-old boy who is caught in the midst of his parents’ bitter divorce.” And yes, there are scenes suggesting that this may be the direction the narrative takes. Witness, for instance, the first time we see the boy, Alyosha (Matvey Novikov). It’s what a lot of us now call the Cache shot, a fixed camera gazing on a wide frame, that of children streaming out from school. It’s hard to know who or what we are supposed to be looking at, until the camera singles out a boy in a red jacket (I thought of Spielberg again) and starts following him. The plot is about this boy’s disappearance. This shot is about his appearance.

Continued at the link above.

Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

Posted in: Cinema: Foreign