Loveless

A film by Andrei Zvyagintsev. In rus­si­an with ger­man subtitles.

In Moscow, at the end of the school day, stu­dents are depar­ting on their way home. One twel­ve year old boy, Alexey, deci­des to take an indi­rect path home rather than using the regu­lar city streets. Alexey takes a path which leads him to walk by a local river in a woo­ded area just on the out­skirts of town. He appears to be in no par­ti­cu­lar rush to get home. His par­ents, Zhenya and Boris, are in the midst of obtai­ning a divor­ce, with much ani­mo­si­ty. They are por­tray­ed as having diver­gent and incom­pa­ti­ble per­so­na­li­ties. Both are try­ing to form new lives in new relationships.

One day, it is dis­co­ve­r­ed that the boy has disap­peared from home, and his mother calls the poli­ce for assi­s­tance. At first, the poli­ce see this as the simp­le case of a runa­way child and expect the boy to return home wit­hin a day or two. However, when Alexey does not return, a vol­un­teer group spe­cia­li­zing in the search for mis­sing per­sons takes over the case and prompt­ly initia­tes a preli­mi­na­ry search for the boy by sen­ding the par­ents to est­ran­ged rela­ti­ves in the hope of loca­ting him. They are first sent to see if Alexey is at his mother’s par­ents. Alexey is not the­re when they arri­ve, though their trip to visit her mother out of town is punc­tua­ted by ten­si­on bet­ween the est­ran­ged rela­ti­ves and Boris is ver­bal­ly bera­ted and exco­ria­ted by Zhenya. On the return trip home, her ver­bal abu­se esca­la­tes to the point that Boris dischar­ges her on the rural road­way befo­re they get back to town.

The fail­u­re of the poli­ce to find Alexey prompt­ly esca­la­tes the search for him into an all out emer­gen­cy mis­sing per­sons search across the town and sur­roun­ding are­as. A search of an aban­do­ned muni­ci­pal buil­ding from an old dila­pi­da­ted city deve­lo­p­ment pro­ject whe­re Alexey was known to have visi­ted turns up not­hing. Finally, the par­ents are asked to come to the mor­gue to exami­ne and try to iden­ti­fy the remains of a John Doe child of still unknown iden­ti­ty. The par­ents both deny that the dis­fi­gu­red dead child’s body is their son, though the expe­ri­ence of being put through the iden­ti­fi­ca­ti­on pro­cess is emo­tio­nal­ly trau­ma­tic to them as they break­down in tears of despe­ra­ti­on, with Alexey still missing.

Later, Alexey’s mother has sold their apart­ment and workers begin dis­mant­ling wall han­gings and app­li­an­ces left behind in the now vacant apart­ment. Outside on the street, mis­sing per­son pos­ters of Alexey now can­vas lar­ge parts of the city try­ing to seek help in loca­ting the mis­sing boy. The sce­ne shifts to the near­by river by the woo­ded path which Alexey used to use to walk home after school and the view focu­ses on an exten­ded land­s­cape sce­ne loo­king through naked win­ter bran­ches of the sur­roun­ding very tall trees. The tree bran­ches sway slight­ly against the win­ter sky with no sight of Alexey or anyo­ne else among the naked win­ter branches.
 


 
Credits:
Originaltitel: Nelyubov  Frankreich/Russland 2017, 127 Min.,
Regie: Andrei Zvyagintsev

Buch: Oieg Negin
Kamera: Mikhail Krichman
Schnitt: Anna Mass
mit: Maryana Spivak, 
Matvey Novikov,
Aleksey Rozin
 
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