Whitby Film Society
Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev has produced another masterpiece in this apocalyptic study of a failed marriage and the subsequent disappearance of a child. This is a story of modern Russia whose people are at the mercy of implacable forces, a loveless world, a place where the ordinary need for survival has mutated or upgraded into an unending aspirational demand for status, money, freedom to find an advantageous second marriage which brings a nice apartment, sex, luxury and the social media prerogative of selfies and self-affirmation. But all of it is underpinned, or overseen, by intensely conservative social norms of Christianity, conformism and nationalism.
Loveless is initially the portrait of a failed marriage in its awful final stages. Boris is a burly, bearded man who works in sales. He still shares the family apartment with his soon-to-be-ex-wife Zhena. They quarrel endlessly, united only in their mutual loathing: each has found a new partner, and are both in the first flush of love and sexual infatuation. But there is the matter of their son, Alyosha a shy and unhappy 12-year-old boy. After he overhears a horrible argument in their cramped flat, he disappears. How will they find their son? Has he been kidnapped or is he already in a morgue? The Police are ineffective, so a motivated team of volunteers take over.