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Loveless

Loveless

Perpetually heavy with only brief respites of cold indifference, Loveless uses the missing child of a divorcing couple to illustrate a void filled with bitterness and selfish apathy. It is made very clear that the soon to be divorced husband and wife loathe each other from the start. Anything in their near vicinity can set them off, and both are eager to sell their old apartment to get on with their lives. 

Caught within the marital tinder is their son, understandably taking all of this in, horribly. Instead of focusing affections towards the only remnant they half-jokingly can’t sell off, the parents are focused on the next steps in life, wondering about workplace issues and more importantly, their new squeezes. Winds of change lead their son to go missing, forcing the lovebirds to interact with each other a lot more than they want, and proceed to find their child with the energy reserved for changing a flat tire.

The ugly subject matter and exploration of relationships are only just as effective as its performers, and most are arresting all around. Both the husband and wife more than carry the film, somehow managing to elicit empathy and distort that into pure disgust. A highlight that is stuffed with the tension of a horror film revolves mostly around their faces and not much else.

Containing the characters are locations paired and presented skillfully to reflect the character’s states. We have the couple's cramped apartment for sale that is filled with many doors, a need for privacy, keeping everything closed off. Compared to the locations where each meet with new lovers, the spaces very open, easy to let light and other things in. 

Intensely effective, the one thing I did not seem to connect with was the film’s specific reference to its 2012 setting. A lack of awareness for both international cinema and politics is a fault of mine,  but let’s say it’s a ‘fresh perspective’; the obvious inclusion did not detract from the film's effect on me. If anything it left me wanting an education in both subjects. My limited knowledge left me only with one glaring parallel — that Loveless left me feeling the same way after I watched Haneke’s Amour. Polar subjects, but with each film revealing a familiar ugliness lying underneath both. A fine double feature, I suggest making a day of it, ending with quiet reflection via a long walk out in the snow or never leaving your apartment again. 

Loveless

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Released: 2017

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