Nelyubov [Loveless] (2017)

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Writer: Oleg Negin, Andrey Zvyagintsev
Cast: Maryana Spivak, Aleksey Rozin, Matvey Novikov, Marina Vasileva, Andris Keiss, Aleksey Fateev
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 1.11.2017

Zhenya (Maryana Spivak)  and Boris (Aleksey Rozin) are going through a hard divorce. They are so involved in their constant arguments, that they’re barely seeing their son Alyosha (Matvey Novikov). During one of their arguments, Alyosha leaves – and disappears. Zhenya and Boris have to try to put their differences aside to do everything they can to find Alyosha.

Nelyubov is a hard film, showing a cruel world very effectively. How much you can bare to watch this will vary, but I was as impressed as I was depressed by the film.

Nelyubov is a pretty long film and it’s very calmly set in scene. In another film this might have felt boring or at least longer than it was, but Nelyubov is able to build and hold the tension the entire time and there wasn’t a single moment I was bored or wanted things to move faster.

It’s a beautifully made film: the cinematography and the soundtrack are precise, expressive and very aesthetic. Thus, they stand in hard contrast to the content and the story the film tells. It’s a hard take on life, so hard that it feels almost cruel. And while I don’t doubt that there are moments where life is so cruel, it’s still tough to watch it being so relentless.

Especially since the ending doesn’t provide any relief either. If you’re hoping to be able to breathe again at the end, don’t. The ending is more like a last kick when you’re already down. That, too, is cruel but for some reason, it’s a cruelty I appreciated. Maybe because it doesn’t blame the people or say that people are cruel per se, it just shows a world that is too much to handle at times and that creates cruelty.

The film left me an emotional wreck in any case. I don’t know if I should recommend to you that you let yourself get wrecked as well, but it was certainly a good film.

Summarizing: Hard and good.

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